New News on IBD and Pulmonary Embolism Risk

  • There has been a lot of new research lately that further points to an increase in clots for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  One Swedish study noted that patients hospitalized with an autoimmune disease appeared to be at a 6 fold increase of PE (Pulmonary Embolism) in the first year after and a 50% increase two to five years after the initial admission (1).  Another study done in Boston showed IBD patients undergoing surgery had double the risk for a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) (2).  


    The researchers believe that this increase in clotting is due to a hyperactivity of platelets in IBD as well as increased coagulation factors that create blood clots.  Impaired fibrinolysis, the process in which the body naturally dissolves clots, and hyperhomocysteinemia, a disease that increases the homocysteine in the blood as well as the risk for other artery or vein diseases, were also seen in IBD.  Some of these issues may be a result of medications but most are believed to be a function of the autoimmune disease itself (2).

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    So, what does this mean for the IBD patient?  It means you have to talk with your doctor.  If you are having surgery you need to discuss the risk of clotting and whether prophylactic measures need to be taken.  If you are sedentary for long periods you may also want to discuss the issue of clotting.  Other factors such as smoking or using oral contraceptives can also contribute to clot risk so be sure to make your doctor aware of all of your risk factors.

    A little do diligence now could prevent a very serious complication.

    For more info on the topic see my previous blog entitled: Beware of Blood Clot Risk and IBD.

Published On: January 17, 2012