Blood Clot Risks Found for Hospitalized Children

Blood clot risk factors among hospitalized children identified in new study

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is rare in children, which often causes it to be overlooked, leading to delays in treatment that can sometimes be deadly.

A recent study looked for signs of VTE in children, which can be blood clots deep in the body (deep venous thrombosis) or in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

The researchers found a number of risk factors, like age and gender, that may warrant monitoring.

"Seek immediate medical attention for symptoms related to blood clots."

The lead author of this study was Clifford M. Takemoto, MD, from the Division of Pediatric Hematology at The Johns Hopkins University.

For this study, Dr. Takemoto and colleagues analyzed thousands of patient records from children treated at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center between 1994 and 2009.

Of the 90,000 records analyzed, these researchers identified 270 cases of VTE and were able to identify several groups at high risk for clotting.

The study analysis showed that half of the patients with clotting had a central venous catheter, a type of catheter placed into large veins in the neck, chest or groin to administer medication and fluids.

This study suggested that age played a factor in clot risk as well, with 18 to 21 year old patients having an eight times higher risk than children between 2 and 9. Teens between 14 and 17 years old were four times as likely to experience clotting.

The researchers also found a two-fold higher risk associated with being female compared to being male among patients of the same age group.

Dr. Takemoto and his team concluded that the overall risk for VTE to the general population is small, but it is important that doctors are aware of patients with multiple risk factors.

Further research is needed to consider additional risk factors such as infections and immobility.

This research team acknowledged limitations of their study, including an inability to consider the potential role of immobility, obesity, infection or other possible risk factors. In addition, the research did not address risks associated with specific surgical procedures.

This study was first published December 12 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

No conflict of interest was declared.

Review Date: 
December 11, 2013
Last Updated:
December 12, 2013