Sex-specific differences in the presentation, clinical course, and quality of life of patients with acute venous thromboembolism according to baseline risk factors. Insights from the PREFER in VTE

Published:March 30, 2021DOI:


      • Women and men have different prevalence of risk factors for venous thromboembolism.
      • Understanding these differences may help to predict sex-related risk of recurrence.
      • Women and men had similar rates of one year recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE).
      • Women had lower quality of life and treatment satisfaction after the first VTE.



      Sex and the presence of specific provoking risk factors, along with age, influence the presentation and prognosis of venous thromboembolism (VTE). We investigated the presentation, course and quality of life in women and men with acute VTE classified according to their VTE provoking factors.


      PREFER in VTE is an international, non-interventional registry of patients with a first episode of acute symptomatic VTE. Baseline provoking factors were classified as follows: major transient, minor transient, active cancer, and none identifiable. The primary outcome was recurrent VTE. Quality of life and treatment satisfaction were secondary outcomes.


      Of 3,455 patients with acute VTE, 1,623 (47%) were women. The mean age at the time of VTE was 61 (SD 18) in women, 60 (SD 15) in men. The distribution of provoking risk factors was similar between sexes, despite a tendency for higher frequency of minor and major transient risk factors in women, and cancer or unprovoked VTE in men. At 12-month follow-up, VTE recurrence was reported in 74 (6.5%) women and 80 (6.4%) men (absolute risk difference -0.1%, 95% CI -1.9%; +2.1%). In patients with unprovoked VTE, the VTE recurrence rate was 38/612 (6.2%) in women and 53/798 (6.6%) in men (absolute risk difference -0.4, 95% CI -3.0; +2.1%). Multivariable Cox regressions confirmed the absence of sex differences. Quality of life and treatment satisfaction scores one year after VTE were lower in women than in men irrespective of the provoking risk factors (p<0.001 for both scores).


      Despite differences in the provoking risk factors for VTE, women and men had a similar rate VTE recurrence at one year. After acute VTE, women had lower quality of life and treatment satisfaction scores.


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