Thrombosis in the setting of obesity or inflammatory bowel disease

Steven R. Lentz


Obesity and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are systemic inflammatory disorders that predispose to arterial and venous thrombosis through similar prothrombotic mechanisms. Obesity and IBD are chronic risk factors that lead to a persistently elevated risk of thrombosis, although the thrombotic risk with IBD appears to wax and wane with disease severity. Because of a lack of high quality evidence to guide management decisions, approaches to the prevention and treatment of thrombosis in patients with obesity or IBD are based on extrapolation from general guidelines for antithrombotic therapy. Obesity alters the pharmacokinetics of some anticoagulant drugs, and IBD patients present the added management challenge of having a high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding while taking anticoagulants. An indefinite duration of anticoagulant therapy is often recommended for obese or IBD patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism unless there is a high risk of bleeding, although more data and better biomarkers are needed to determine if anticoagulation can be safely stopped in a subset of IBD patients during remission of active disease. Most patients with obesity or IBD require thromboprophylaxis in conjunction with hospitalization or surgery, with adjustment of anticoagulant dosing in patients with severe obesity.

  • Submitted May 17, 2016.
  • Accepted July 5, 2016.