The 2013 ASH Choosing Wisely campaign recommends against thrombophilia testing in patients with major transient risk factors for venous thromboembolism (VTE). Our Special Coagulation Laboratory (SCL) offers an algorithmic approach to thrombophilia testing which includes assays for lupus anticoagulant, dysfibrinogenemia, anticoagulant proteins (protein C, protein S, antithrombin), activated protein C resistance with reflex to factor v Leiden (if indicated), and prothrombin G20210A mutation. Samples are received through Mayo Clinic Laboratories (MCL), national and international reference laboratory (often with limited or no clinical information) and from internal Mayo Clinic practice. We hypothesized that thrombophilia testing would decline in cases where it was recommended against following the publication of testing guidelines.
We audited the external thrombophilia testing samples between2013-2019 and internal samples between 2014-2019 (periods during which they were available). For the internal samples, complete test volumes were only available 2014-2019. Because external clients may either adopt internal testing or contract with a different reference laboratory, many clients may not have been retained over the entire observed period. To better understand the ordering practices of consistent clients, external clients which did not have thrombophilia testing sent to MCL each year of the observed period were excluded. We separated internal ordering practices by hematology and oncology or thrombophilia clinic staff and trainees contrasted with those of other specialties.
MCL received 18,529 external thrombophilia testing samples from 322 external healthcare systems during the observed period. From 37 clients, 5,878 (38.2%) samples met inclusion criteria. Annual volume of samples ranged from 890 in 2013 to 861 in 2019 (861-1046). Special coagulation lab processed 11,639 internal thrombophilia tests during the observed periods. There was a consistent small annual increase in testing with 1,398 performed in 2014 and 2,430 in 2019. Of 11651 tests ordered, only 18.6% (2167) were ordered by people most likely to be familiar with ASH choosing wisely campaign. Annual thrombophilia testing ordered by hematology and oncology or thrombophilia clinic staff increased from 307 in 2014 to 387 in 2019 (307-432). However, the ordering practices of these providers as a proportion of overall practices declined from 22.0% (307/1398) in 2014 to 15.9 % (387/2430) in 2019. Table
Our preliminary data showed no significant trend in thrombophilia ordering practices among included external clients since publication of the ASH Choosing Wisely guidelines on thrombophilia testing. Internally we found a consistent small rise in numbers of thrombophilia tests ordered since 2014 but this may reflect changes in patient volume. We observed that the majority of internal thrombophilia testing was ordered by non-hematology/oncology or thrombophilia providers who are perhaps less likely to be familiar with ASH Choosing Wisely guidelines. The proportion of testing ordered by hematology & oncology or thrombophilia providers declined during the observed period.
Our findings are limited by lacking information on the indication and appropriateness for testing as well as possibility of change in patient population. However the overall trend in test volumes and specialty of ordering providers deserves attention and highlight the value in educating other medical societies on ASH Choosing Wisely recommendations for thrombophilia testing. Future work will focus on appropriateness for thrombophilia testing including the indication and time (remote from anticoagulation and acute thrombotic episode), location of testing (inpatient vs. outpatient), as well as investigating if testing has changed patient management, which may help in creating new Choosing Wisely recommendations for thrombophilia testing.
Pruthi:HEMA Biologics: Honoraria; Bayer Healthcare: Honoraria; Merck: Honoraria; Instrumentation Laboratory: Honoraria; Genentech Inc.: Honoraria; CSL Behring: Honoraria.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.