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The Interplay of Race/Ethnicity and Obesity on the Incidence of Venous Thromboembolism

      Introduction

      Factors predisposing asymptomatic individuals within the community to venous thromboembolism are not fully understood. This study characterizes the incidence and determinants of venous thromboembolism among the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort with a focus on race/ethnicity and obesity.

      Methods

      This study (analyzed in 2020–2021) used the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort (2000–2017), which included participants with diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds aged 45–84 years without cardiovascular disease at baseline. The primary endpoint was time to diagnosis of venous thromboembolism defined using International Classification of Diseases codes (415, 451, 453, 126, 180, and 182). Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios of the predictors of venous thromboembolism were calculated with a focus on the interaction between obesity and race/ethnicity categories.

      Results

      Over a median follow-up period of 14 years, 233 individuals developed venous thromboembolism. Incidence rates (per 1,000 person-years) varied across racial/ethnic groups with the highest incidence among Black (4.02) followed by White (2.98), Hispanic (2.08), and Chinese (0.79) participants. There was a stepwise increase in the incidence rate of venous thromboembolism with increasing BMI regardless of race/ethnicity: normal (1.95), overweight (2.52), obese (3.63), and morbidly obese (4.55). The association between BMI and venous thromboembolism was strongest among non-White women with the highest incidence rate for obese (4.8) compared with non-obese (1.6). The interaction among obesity, gender, and race was statistically significant (p=0.01) in non-White obese women. Risk of venous thromboembolism increased with age for all race/ethnicities.

      Conclusions

      This study finds that obesity may confer an increased risk for venous thromboembolism among non-White women compared with other groups—White men, White women, and non-White men.
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