(HealthDay News) – Older adults recovering from an infection are at increased risk of being hospitalized for a venous thromboembolism (VTE).

In order to evaluate triggers of hospitalization for VTE, Mary A.M. Rogers, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a case-crossover study. Data for 16,781 participants from the Health and Retirement Study were linked to Medicare records for hospital and nursing home stays; emergency department visits; outpatient visits, including physician visits; and home health visits.

The researchers found infection to be the most common trigger of hospitalization for VTE, occurring in 52.4% of the risk periods prior to hospitalization. The adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRR) were 2.9 for all infection, 2.63 for infection without a prior hospital or skilled nursing facility stay, and 6.92 for infection with a prior hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. In addition, both erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and blood transfusion were associated with VTE hospitalization (IRR, 9.33 and 2.57, respectively). Other predictors included major surgeries, fractures (IRR, 2.81), immobility (IRR, 4.23), and chemotherapy (IRR, 5.7). Together, these predictors accounted for 69.7% of exposures prior to VTE hospitalization, compared with 35.3% in the comparison periods.

“Risk prediction algorithms for VTE should be reevaluated to include infection, erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, and blood transfusion,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to blood technology companies.

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