Blood Transfusion - 3 2021 (May-June)
Thrombophilia testing in the real-world clinical setting of thrombosis centres taking part in the Italian Start 2-Register
Authors:  Cristina Legnani, Gualtiero Palareti, Emilia Antonucci, Daniela Poli, Benilde Cosmi, Anna Falanga, Daniela Mastroiacovo, Sophie Testa; on behalf of the START 2-Register Investigators (Appendix 1)
Pages:  244-252
To cite this article:  Blood Transfus 2021; 19: 244-52
Doi:  10.2450/2021.0262-20
Published online:  27/01/2021


Background - Even though it rarely influences venous thromboembolism (VTE) treatment and the fact that it is generally discouraged, thrombophilia testing is still largely prescribed. We assessed: 1) whether/how frequently Italian thrombosis centres requested thrombophilia testing; 2) what results were obtained; and 3) if the results affected treatment and clinical results.
Materials and methods - We examined data from 4,826 VTE patients enrolled by 19 clinical centres participating in the START 2-Register.
Results - 57.2% of patients were tested. Numbers varied widely among centres (2.9-99.7%). Thrombophilic alterations were recorded in 18.2% of patients and the percentage of positive results was inversely correlated with that of patients tested. Significantly less patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) were tested, whereas more were tested when the event was idiopathic, presenting as isolated pulmonary embolism (PE), or in unusual sites. Patients with thrombophilic alterations were younger, more frequently treated with direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), with lower mortality and less frequently discontinued anticoagulation. DOACs were more frequently prescribed in patients with heterozygous Factor V (FV) Leiden or prothrombin mutations, whereas vitamin K antagonists were preferred in patients with inhibitor deficiencies, combined alterations or antiphospholipid syndrome (APLS). There was no difference in duration of treatment among those with or without alterations, though more APLS patients received an extended treatment course. Bleeding and thrombotic complications occurred with a similar and fairly low incidence in patients with or without thrombophilic alterations.
Discussion - Although general testing for thrombophilia in VTE patients is currently discouraged, more than half of the VTE patients included in the START2-Register were tested. However, there were marked differences in practice between Italian thrombosis centres. About 60% of all patients with alterations were treated with DOACs, confirming that DOACs can be a useful option for treatment of thrombophilic VTE patients, with the exclusion of those with APLS.
Keywords: thrombophilia, recurrent events, bleeding, anticoagulant therapy, venous thromboembolism.
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