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Comments, Opinions, and Brief Case Reports
June 28, 2004

Venous Thromboembolism in the Black Population

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(12):No Pagination Specified. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.12.1348

We read with interest the article by Stein et al1 investigating the diagnostic process for venous thromboembolism (VTE) in North American blacks. In a retrospective study of data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey they found no racial difference in diagnostic rates for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. Understanding of the epidemiology and risk factors for VTE in black populations is limited.2 Venous thrombosis has historically been perceived as a disease restricted to European populations,3 a belief reinforced by the low incidence of known hereditary prothrombotic mutations in blacks together with the lack of diagnostic services in underdeveloped countries. Recent reports, however, suggest that VTE is common across a variety of racial groups, including African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Africans, and Japanese.4-7 These data, however, originate from studies centered in the developed world, and the diagnostic rate of VTE in indigenous African and Caribbean populations is unknown.