SUNDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- People with immune-related
disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus may be at
increased risk for developing potentially deadly blood clots during
hospital stays, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom
analyzed 45 years' worth of medical records of patients who were
hospitalized for immune-related disorders and had no evidence or
prior history of blood clots in a vein, also called venous
thromboembolism (VTE) -- one type of which can break off and travel
to block a blood vessel in the lungs.
The patients were divided into different groups based on their
immune-related condition. The researchers then compared them to
patients who were hospitalized for minor, non-immune-related
problems such as broken bones and minor surgical procedures.
The findings are published in the current online edition of the
The investigators found significantly elevated rates of blood
clots in the veins of people with certain immune diseases,
particularly those with lupus and polyarteritis nodosa, a blood
vessel disorder in which the arteries become swollen and
And while all patients who have surgery are at increased risk
for blood clots, the risk seems to be even greater in patients with
immune diseases, principal investigator Dr. Michael Goldacre said
in a news release from the journal's publisher.
He and his colleagues suggested that inflammation caused by
immune disorders may increase the tendency of blood to clot. If
further research confirms this, these patients may benefit from
anti-clotting drugs to protect them from blood clots while in the
hospital, the study authors concluded.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers a
guide to preventing and treating blood clots.