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Amro Elshoury, Jordan K. Schaefer, Ming Y. Lim, Deidre P. Skalla, and Michael B. Streiff

Patients with cancer are at high risk of developing arterial and venous thromboembolism (VTE). They constitute 15% to 20% of the patients diagnosed with VTE. Depending on the type of tumor, cancer therapy, and presence of other risk factors, 1% to 25% of patients with cancer will develop thrombosis. The decision to start patients with cancer on primary thromboprophylaxis depends on patient preference, balancing risk of bleeding versus risk of thrombosis, cost, and adequate organ function. Currently, guidelines recommend against the use of routine primary thromboprophylaxis in unselected ambulatory patients with cancer. Validated risk assessment models can accurately identify patients at highest risk for cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT). This review summarizes the recently updated NCCN Guidelines for CAT primary prophylaxis, with a primarily focus on VTE prevention. Two main clinical questions that providers commonly encounter will also be addressed: which patients with cancer should receive primary thromboprophylaxis (both surgical and medical oncology patients) and how to safely choose between different anticoagulation agents.