This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows:
To examine the existing clinical evidence of the effect of anticoagulants (heparins and vitamin K antagonists) versus placebo or anti-inflammatory drugs in patients with VTE on the incidence of fatal and non-fatal pulmonary emboli (PE), and the recurrence/extension of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Secondly, to evaluate the risks of anticoagulant therapy for venous thromboembolism (VTE), including all major bleeding events and anticoagulant-induced clotting (heparin-induced-thrombocytopenia (HIT) and warfarin necrosis). The following hypotheses will be tested:
(a) That treatment with anticoagulants reduces the incidence of fatal PE in patients with DVT and/or PE when compared with placebo or anti-inflammatory drugs.
(b) That the benefit of treating VTE with anticoagulants outweighs the risk of death due to complications of anticoagulant treatment.