Associations between arterial and venous thromboembolism

Cardiovascular diseases, in particular arterial and venous thrombosis, are major causes of morbidity and mortality in Western societies.

Venous thromboembolism often occurs in association with arterial thrombosis (myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke), but these diseases have traditionally been considered separate entities with different pathology and treatment. Observational studies in selected populations suggest a clear overlap.

It is uncertain whether the association between arterial and venous thrombosis exist solely as Direct impact of the disease states on each other, or if they share risk factors including the presence of atherosclerosis. A clear understanding of the causal relationship between these diseases could alter clinical care and potentially lead to novel treatments.

In the Tromsø Study, we have previously identified age, obesity and family history of myocardial infarction as shared risk factors, whereas traditional atherosclerotic risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes predicted myocardial infarction, but not venous thromboembolism. 

Here, we will mine the deep phenotypic data of the Tromsø study and collaborative studies to identify causal mechanisms of shared risk factors for arterial and venous thrombosis, and determine associations between clinically manifest arterial and venous thrombosis independent of classical atherosclerotic risk factors. Particular attention will be paid to identify shared biomarkers and genetic variants, in order to reveal coherent steps in the pathogenesis of the diseases.

Responsible: John-Bjarne Hansen