The Genetic Blood Clot Link

Venous thromboembolism risk found hereditary

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Often times hearing that a friend or neighbor has a blood clot seems surprising and unexpected. Not so, according to a new study that suggests a 10 percent link to heredity.

Researchers at the Centre for Primary Health Care Research in Malmö, Sweden, have unveiled that a nationwide study demonstrated  the significance of hereditary factors in venous thromboembolism (VTE), a blockage of an artery in the lungs most commonly caused by a blood clot in a vein, especially a vein in the leg or hip area.

"Ask your parents if they have VTE; it could put you at risk."

Researchers were able to make the hereditary link in the Swedish population by studying the risk of VTE in children whose parents have the disease versus children whose parents do not. The study demonstrated that hereditary factors are most significant between the ages of 10 and 50 in both men and women, with the highest risk group being those between the ages of 10 and 19.

The study suggests that beyond the age of 50 hereditary factors play only a minor role and that other factors remain more likely to be major contributors. Venous thromboembolism remains the third most common type of cardiovascular disease after coronary heart disease and stroke.

Blood clots in children under the age of 10 are rare, but the study suggests that heredity did not seem to play a role in that age group. The group found to be at the most significant risk were those whose parents both have had VTE.

During the study  period between 1987 and 2007, 45,362 people suffered from VTE. Of those, 4,865 were hereditary VTE cases.

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Review Date: 
May 31, 2011
Last Updated:
June 2, 2011