Background: Estimates of the incidence of venous thrombosis (VT) vary, and data on mortality are limited.
Objectives: We estimated the incidence and mortality of a first VT event in a general population.
Methods: From the residents of Nord-Trøndelag county in Norway aged 20 years and older (n = 94 194), we identified all cases with an objectively verified diagnosis of VT that occurred between 1995 and 2001. Patients and diagnosis characteristics were retrieved from medical records.
Results: Seven hundred and forty patients were identified with a first diagnosis of VT during 516 405 person-years of follow-up. The incidence rate for all first VT events was 1.43 per 1000 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.33–1.54], that for deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) was 0.93 per 1000 person-years (95% CI: 0.85–1.02), and that for pulmonary embolism (PE) was 0.50 per 1000 person-years (95% CI: 0.44–0.56). The incidence rates increased exponentially with age, and were slightly higher in women than in men. The 30-day case-fatality rate was higher in patients with PE than in those with DVT [9.7% vs. 4.6%, risk ratio 2.1 (95% CI: 1.2–3.7)]; it was also higher in patients with cancer than in patients without cancer [19.1% vs. 3.6%, risk ratio 3.8 (95% CI 1.6–9.2)]. The risk of dying was highest in the first months subsequent to the VT, after which it gradually approached the mortality rate in the general population.
Conclusions: This study provides estimates of incidence and mortality of a first VT event in the general population.