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New knowledge: Blood poisoning increases the risk of blood clots

Every year, almost 10,000 Danes are admitted to hospital with blood poisoning, while more than 3,000 patients become infected while they are hospitalised. New research shows that Danes suffering from blood poisoning risk an extra challenge in the form of an increased risk of suffering a blood clot:

"We have followed more than 4,000 people who have been admitted with blood poisoning. The study shows that the risk of suffering a blood clot in either the brain or the heart is twice as high for patients with blood poisoning in relation to other patients who are also admitted with acute illnesses," says Michael Dalager-Pedersen , PhD student at Aarhus University and Registrar at Aalborg University Hospital. He has carried out the study in collaboration with colleagues from Aarhus University, Aarhus University Hospital, and Aalborg University Hospital.

The risk of a blood clot was highest within the first 30 days after the infection, where the risk was 3.6 percent against 1.7 percent for the other acutely admitted patients, and only 0.2 percent among the population in general.

The study has just been published in Circulation, which is one of the world's most respected medical journals in the area.

In recent years there has been a growing level of interest for the correlation between the risk of blood clots and infections such as e.g. blood poisoning. The researchers hope that the new knowledge can be utilised to ensure better prevention and earlier treatment: "It is important that we have now documented that there is a clear correlation between blood poisoning and blood clots. The new knowledge can be used by the medical doctors to increase focus on this patient group so they can begin relevant treatment quicker," says Reimar Wernich Thomsen from the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.

He explains that the correlation may, among other things, be due to the fact that the blood clots arise due to the increased strain on the heart and blood vessels that the infection causes.

Facts about the study:

  • The study followed 4,389 patients.
  • The patients were admitted during the period 1992-2011.
  • All of the patients came from the Northern Jutland region.
  • The researchers have followed the patients via the Danish National Patient Register.


Contact: Reimar W. Thomse
Aarhus University

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