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Keywords:

  • Longitudinal Investigation of Thromboembolism Etiology (LITE);
  • thrombin generation;
  • venous thromboembolism

Summary. Background: Thrombin is an enzyme that is essential for the acceleration of the coagulation cascade and the conversion of fibrinogen to clottable fibrin. Objectives: We evaluated the relationship of basal peak thrombin generation with the risk of future venous thromboembolism (VTE), and determined whether associations were independent of other coagulation markers. Methods: The Longitudinal Investigation of Thromboembolism Etiology (LITE) study investigated VTE in two prospective population-based cohorts: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). Peak thrombin generation was measured on stored plasma in a nested case–control sample (434 cases and 1004 controls). Logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship of peak thrombin generation with VTE, adjusted for age, sex, race, center, and body mass index. Mediation was evaluated by additionally adjusting for factor VIII and D-dimer. Results: Relative to the first quartile of peak thrombin generation, the odds ratio (OR) of VTE for those above the median was 1.74 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.28–2.37]. The association was modestly attenuated by adjustment for FVIII and D-dimer (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.05–2.05). Associations appeared to be stronger for idiopathic than for secondary VTE. Elevated peak thrombin generation more than added to the VTE risk associated with FV Leiden or low activated partial thromboplastin time. Conclusions: In this prospective study of two independent cohorts, elevated basal peak thrombin generation was associated with subsequent risk of VTE, independently of established VTE risk factors.