KJ Harrington, AR Bateman, KN Syrigos, R Rintoul, R Bhidayasiri, M McCormack, H Thomas
BACKGROUND: Cancer patients frequently suffer thromboembolic events. This study assessed the incidence and resource implications of cancer-related thromboembolic disease (CTD) in a single, large cancer centre. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective analysis of patients admitted with CTD and/or the complications of treatment of CTD over a two-year period has been conducted. Forty-eight patients (23 male, 25 female, median age 60 years) with a variety of solid tumours were identified. RESULTS: The initial presentations were venous thromboses (28 patients) and pulmonary embolism (20 patients). The median interval from cancer diagnosis to the initial episode of CTD was eight (range 0-112) months. Twenty-two patients suffered additional thromboses, despite maintenance warfarin anticoagulation in 18 patients. Six patients experienced anticoagulation-induced haemorrhage. Forty-one (85.4%) patients have died. The median survival from the first thromboembolic event was 8.5 months. The median inpatient stay for management of the first event was 10 (range 4-75) days, accounting for 729 inpatient days during the study period. Recurrent episodes of CTD or complications of anticoagulation resulted in 28 readmissions, accounting for 295 inpatient days. During the two-year period 1024 inpatient days were directly caused by CTD and its complications, representing 6.1% bed occupancy on our unit. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that CTD represents a significant cause of morbidity in cancer patients with considerable resource implications for cancer centres. Improvements in prevention and management of CTD would reduce morbidity and lead to considerable cost savings.