Venous Thromboembolism in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: The Role of Pharmacological Therapy and Surgery

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Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Alongside the traditional acquired and genetic risk factors for VTE, patients with IBD have pathogenic and clinical peculiarities that are responsible for the increased number of thromboembolic events occurring during their life. A relevant role in modifying this risk in a pro or antithrombotic manner is played by pharmacological therapies and surgery. The availability of several biological agents and small-molecule drugs with different mechanisms of action allows us to also tailor the treatment based on the individual prothrombotic risk to reduce the occurrence of VTE. Available review articles did not provide sufficient and updated knowledge on this topic. Therefore, we assessed the role of each single treatment, including surgery, in modifying the risk of VTE in patients with IBD to provide physicians with recommendations to minimize VTE occurrence. We found that the use of steroids, particularly if prolonged, increased VTE risk, whereas the use of infliximab seemed to reduce such risk. The data relating to the hypothesized prothrombotic risk of tofacitinib were insufficient to draw definitive conclusions. Moreover, surgery has an increased prothrombotic risk. Therefore, implementing measures to prevent VTE, not only with pharmacological prophylaxis but also by reducing patient- and surgery-specific risk factors, is necessary. Our findings confirm the importance of the knowledge of the effect of each single drug or surgery on the overall VTE risk in patients with IBD, even if further data, particularly regarding newer drugs, are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2115-N/A
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • infliximab
  • surgery
  • tofacitinib
  • venous thromboembolism


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