How I treat unexplained arterial thrombosis

Academic Article


  • Most arterial thrombotic events have a clear atherosclerotic or cardioembolic etiology, but hematologists are frequently asked to assist in the diagnosis and management of a patient with a nonatherosclerotic and noncardioembolic arterial event, referred to here as an unexplained arterial thrombosis. Because there is an assorted list of factors that can precipitate an arterial event, we present a systematic diagnostic approach to ensure consideration of not only primary hypercoagulable disorders, but also pro-thrombotic medications or substances, vascular and anatomic abnormalities, and undiagnosed systemic disorders, such as malignancy and autoimmune diseases. We also review existing literature of the role of hypercoagulable disorders in arterial thrombosis and discuss our approach to thrombophilia workup in patients after an unexplained arterial event. We conclude with 3 representative cases to both illustrate the application of the outlined diagnostic schema and discuss common management considerations, specifically the selection of anticoagulation vs antiplatelet therapy for secondary prevention.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Blood  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • May JE; Moll S
  • Start Page

  • 1487
  • End Page

  • 1498
  • Volume

  • 136
  • Issue

  • 13