Venous thromboembolism: racial and ethnic influences

Author(s): Raj K Patel and Roopen Arya

The epidemiology and risk factors for venous thromboembolism are well described in European populations, but such data is scarce in other ethnic groups. Venous thrombosis has traditionally been perceived as affecting only Europeans; this erroneous belief is reinforced by the low incidence of the common hereditary thrombophilias outside Europe, together with the lack of general perception and poor availability of diagnostic services in developing countries. It is now evident that venous thrombosis is prevalent across a number of different racial groups. Furthermore, conventional thrombophilia testing has been shown to be uninformative in most non-Europeans and laboratory reference ranges for these tests may be inappropriate for some non-European populations. Further research is needed to characterize the nature of venous thromboembolism in non-Europeans.