Venous Thromboembolism in Tropical Australia and in Indigenous Australians

Ferenc Szabo, Catherine Marshall, Dat Khuong Huynh

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There is a paucity of data on the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in Australia, particularly amongst Indigenous Australians. We have therefore conducted a retrospective review of all cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism over a 24 months' period in two major hospitals of the Northern Territory (NT). A total of 429 VTE diagnoses were recorded over a 2-year period and 71 of 429 (17%) patients were Indigenous Australians. The overall incidence rate was 0.9 per 1,000 person-year for the population of the NT with a rate of 0.5 per 1,000 person-year for Indigenous Australians versus 1 per 1,000 person-year for non-Indigenous Australians. Of the 71, 39 (55%) of the VTE cases in the Indigenous group occurred in patients younger than 50 years and almost half of these (n = 18) were younger than 29 years. Hospitalization was found to be a major risk factor for VTE in 20 (38%) of the 54 Indigenous Australians of whom 10 (26%) patients were younger than 50 years. Although the rate of VTE in Indigenous Australians was low, its onset was significantly earlier in life and it was often triggered by prolonged hospitalization. VTE therefore should be added to the list of adverse outcomes of poor health and chronic diseases, which cause disproportional high rates of hospitalization amongst Indigenous Australians. The low number of VTE observed in older Indigenous patients in our study possibly reflects on the lower life expectancy and ongoing wide gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-740
Number of pages5
JournalSeminars in Thrombosis and Hemostasis
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • deep vein thrombosis
  • Indigenous Australians
  • pulmonary embolism
  • venous thromboembolism


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