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05-05-2010 | Cardiology | Article

Taller men have increased risk for VTE


Free abstract

MedWire News: Body height is a risk factor for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in men but not women, results from a large, population based study in Norway show.

“In the mid-19th century, Virchow acknowledged blood stasis as a major contributor to venous thrombosis, and body height was later shown to affect venous pressure dynamics. Thus, it is likely that body height may affect risk of VTE,” remark Sigrid Braekkan (University of Tromsø, Norway) and colleagues in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Previous studies have suggested an association between body height and VTE in men, but no study has addressed whether this impact of body height on VTE risk is gender-specific.

To address this issue, Braekkan and team carried out a prospective cohort study of 26,727 adults (47.5% male) aged 25 to 96 years who participated in the population-based Tromsø Study between 1994 and 1995.

The researchers report that there were 462 VTE events during a median 12.5 years of follow-up. They found that the age- and multivariable-adjusted risk for total VTE increased significantly with increasing height among men, but not among women. Every 10 cm increase in height was associated with a 34% increased risk for VTE in men compared with a nonsignificant 13% increased risk for VTE in women.

When the participants were grouped in quartiles by height, the researchers found that the tallest men (over 181 cm) had double the risk for VTE compared with the shortest men (below 173 cm). In contrast, there was no significant trend across quartiles of body height for women.

Of note, body height did not differentially affect the risk for unprovoked versus provoked VTE.

Braekkan and co-authors comment that their findings are similar to those of other studies and suggest that body height may become a recognized risk factor for VTE in men.

“Our findings also suggest that taller height may be an unrecognized confounder for the increased risk of VTE in men versus women reported in some cohort studies,” they add.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Laura Dean

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