Altered plasma clot properties increase the risk of recurrent deep vein thrombosis: a cohort study

Joanna Cieslik, Sandra Mrozinska, Elzbieta Broniatowska and Anetta Undas

Key points

  • Formation of more compact plasma fibrin clots associated with impaired susceptibility to lysis predisposes to recurrent DVT.

  • Determination of plasma clot phenotype prior to anticoagulation withdrawal might help identify patients at elevated risk of DVT recurrence.


It has been demonstrated that fibrin clots generated from plasma samples obtained from patients with prior thromboembolic events are denser and less susceptible to lysis. Such a prothrombotic fibrin clot phenotype has been suggested as a new risk factor for venous thromboembolism, but its prognostic value is unclear. To assess whether abnormal clot properties can predict recurrent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), we studied 320 consecutive patients aged 18 to 70 years following the first-ever DVT. Plasma clot properties were evaluated after 3 months of anticoagulant treatment since the index event. A mean duration of anticoagulation was 10 months (range, 4-20). Recurrent DVT was observed in 77 patients (25%; 6.6%/year) during a median follow-up of 44 months. Recurrences of DVT were associated with faster formation (-9% lag phase) of denser fibrin networks (-12% fibrin clot permeability [Ks]) and 4% higher maximum absorbance of plasma clots (ΔAbs), that displayed impaired fibrinolytic degradation (+25% prolonged clot lysis time [CLT]) and 5% slower rate of increase in D-dimer levels during clot degradation (D-Drate, all p<0.05). Proximal DVT alone, higher C-reactive protein, D-dimer, peak thrombin, lower Ks, shorter lag phase, decreased D-Drate and prolonged CLT were independent predictors of recurrences (all p<0.05). Individuals characterized by low Ks (≤7.3 x10-9cm2) and prolonged CLT (>96 min) were at the highest risk of recurrent DVT (OR, 15.8; 95% CI, 7.5-33.5). Kaplan-Meier curves showed that reduced Ks and prolonged CLT predicted recurrent DVT. We demonstrated that unfavourably altered clot properties may predict recurrent DVT after anticoagulation withdrawal.

  • Submitted July 28, 2017.
  • Accepted November 27, 2017.