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Hospital-associated venous thromboembolism (HA-VTE) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and is internationally recognized as a significant patient safety issue. While cirrhosis was traditionally considered to predispose to bleeding, these patients are also at an increased risk of VTE, with an associated increase in mortality. Hospitalization rates of patients with cirrhosis are increasing, and decisions regarding thromboprophylaxis are complex due to the uncertain balance between thrombosis and bleeding risk. This is further accentuated by derangements of hemostasis in patients with cirrhosis that are often considered contraindications to pharmacological thromboprophylaxis. Due to the strict inclusion and exclusion criteria of seminal studies of VTE risk assessment and thromboprophylaxis, there is limited data to guide decision making in this patient group. This guidance document reviews the incidence and risk factors for HA-VTE in patients with cirrhosis, outlines evidence to inform the use of thromboprophylaxis, and provides pragmatic recommendations on VTE prevention for hospitalized patients with cirrhosis. In brief, in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis: We suggest inclusion of portal vein thrombosis as a distinct clinically important endpoint for future studies. We recommend against the use of thrombocytopenia and/or prolongation of prothrombin time/international normalized ratio as absolute contraindications to anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis. We suggest anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis in line with local protocols and suggest low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) or fondaparinux over unfractionated heparin (UFH). In renal impairment, we suggest LMWH over UFH. For critically ill patients, we suggest case-by-case consideration of thromboprophylaxis. We recommend research to refine VTE risk stratification, and to establish the optimal dosing and duration of thromboprophylaxis.

Original publication




Journal article


J Thromb Haemost

Publication Date



liver cirrhosis, liver diseases, prevention, thromboprophylaxis, venous thrombosis