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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Schlattmann, Peter / Tate, Jillian R. / Tsongalis, Gregory J.

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Hyperhomocysteinemia as a Risk Factor for Venous Thrombosis

Martin den Heijer / Miranda B.A.J. Keijzer

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 39, Issue 8, Pages 710–713, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2001.117, June 2005

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Classical homocystinuria is associated with arterial vascular diseases and venous thrombosis. In the last decade, several studies have been published indicating that even mild hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for venous thrombosis. The 677C→T mutation in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene is an important cause of mild hyperhomocysteinemia, but this polymorphism does not seem to be a risk factor for venous thrombosis. Studies on the interaction between hyperhomocysteinemia and other thrombotic risk factors are conflicting.

Little is known about the pathophysiology of venous thrombosis in hyperhomocysteinemia. Several mechanisms proposed for vascular disease may be applied to venous thrombosis as well. However, up to now there is no satisfying model which might explain a thrombophilic state at plasma homocysteine concentrations in the range of mild hyperhomocysteinemia.

The results of a first clinical intervention study are expected in 2002. As the results are pending, clinicians could perform homocysteine measurements in patients with venous thrombosis if screening for thrombophilia is indicated. Vitamin supplementation could be prescribed if homocysteine levels are elevated. However, the patient should be informed about the uncertainty of the benefits of vitamin supplementation.

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