Abstract

Background: Although much is known about the incidence of hypercoagulable disorders in the Caucasian population, data is lacking in many other racial groups. We therefore retrospectively analyzed charts of all patients referred to our inner city hospital’s general hematology clinic from January 2003 to December 2006 for evaluation of possible hypercoagulable state.

Methods: We reviewed charts for all patients referred for investigation of thrombophilia or hypercoagulable state seen in our clinic. Data regarding history of thrombosis was recorded. In the case of venous thromboembolic disease possible precipitants were noted. Demographic data and family history were noted. A clinical diagnosis of hypercoagulability was made based on whether the patient had any of the following: age <40; strong family history of thrombosis; unusual location of thrombosis; 2 or more thrombotic events; lack of precipitant to thrombotic episode. Laboratory data was gathered on the following: factor V leiden mutation; prothrombin gene mutation; MTHFR mutation; antithrombin III levels; protein C and protein S function; antiphospholipid antibodies.

Results: 59 patients were referred. Of these 12 patients were excluded from further analysis as the reason for referral was investigation of ischemic stroke or myocardial infarction. Using the above clinical criteria 33 patients were identified as having hypercoagulability. Diagnoses and demographics are noted in tables 1 and 2.

Conclusions: Our study illustrates several important practical points about the investigation of hypercoagulable patients. A larger number of protein C or S deficiencies would likely have been diagnosed had these studies been performed prior to starting anticoagulation. Similarly it is likely that the proportion of patients diagnosed with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is high as it is possible to test for this condition whilst patients are anticoagulated. It is therefore appropriate that the best time for testing be disseminated more widely to general internal medicine providers. Importantly it appears that certain diagnostic tests would have a much higher yield in minority populations. It is likely that resources would be better allocated if African American patients in particular were tested initially for the antiphospholipid antibodies and activated protein C resistance rather than prothrombin gene mutations or factor V Leiden. Further prospective studies are planned to confirm these findings.

Baseline demographics

RaceGenderAge
MaleFemale<40 years>40 years
All patients 12 21 22 11 
African American 12 11 
White 
Hispanic 
Asian 
RaceGenderAge
MaleFemale<40 years>40 years
All patients 12 21 22 11 
African American 12 11 
White 
Hispanic 
Asian 

Diagnosis by ethnic group

RaceDiagnosis
AntiphospholipidProtein S def.ATIII def.V LeidenMTHFRMultiple DisordersUnknown
No cases of Protein C deficiency or Prothrombin Gene Mutation identified 
All patients 12 1 (heterozygous) 15 
African American 
White 1 (heterozygous) 
Hispanic 
Asian 
RaceDiagnosis
AntiphospholipidProtein S def.ATIII def.V LeidenMTHFRMultiple DisordersUnknown
No cases of Protein C deficiency or Prothrombin Gene Mutation identified 
All patients 12 1 (heterozygous) 15 
African American 
White 1 (heterozygous) 
Hispanic 
Asian 

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.