Background: There is little information on the clinical outcome of patients with upper-extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Methods: RIETE is an ongoing registry of consecutive patients with objectively confirmed, symptomatic, acute DVT or pulmonary embolism (PE). In this analysis, we analyzed the demographic characteristics, treatment, and 3-month outcome of all patients with DVT in the arm.
Results: Of the 11,564 DVT patients enrolled, 512 patients (4.4%) had arm DVT. They presented less often with clinically overt PE (9.0% vs 29%; odds ratio, 0.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.18 to 0.33) than those with lower-limb DVT, but their 3-month outcome was similar. Of the 512 patients with arm DVT, 196 patients (38%) had cancer and 228 patients (45%) had catheter-related DVT. During follow-up, those with cancer DVT had an increased incidence of major bleeding (4.1% vs 0.9%; odds ratio, 4.4; 95% CI, 1.2 to 21), recurrent venous thromboembolism (6.1% vs 2.8%; odds ratio, 2.2; 95% CI, 0.91 to 5.6; p = 0.04), and death (22% vs 3.5%; odds ratio, 7.8; 95% CI, 4.0 to 16). Thirty patients had the composite event of recurrent DVT, symptomatic PE, or major bleeding. They were significantly older, more often had cancer, and presented more frequently with symptomatic PE on hospital admission. On multivariate analysis, only cancer patients with arm DVT had an increased risk for the composite event (odds ratio, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.4 to 6.4).
Conclusions: At presentation, patients with arm DVT have less often clinically overt PE than those with lower-limb DVT, but their 3-month outcome is similar. Among patients with arm DVT, those with cancer have the worse outcome.