Protocol for a systematic review of prognostic models for the recurrence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) following treatment for a first unprovoked VTE

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a chronic disease, with fatal recurrences occurring in 5% to 9% of patients, yet it is also one of the best examples of preventable disease. Prognostic models that utilise multiple prognostic factors (demographic, clinical and laboratory patient characteristics) in combination to predict individual outcome risk may allow the identification of patients who would benefit from long-term anticoagulation therapy, and conversely those that would benefit from stopping such therapy due to a low risk of recurrence. The study will systematically review the evidence on potential prognostic models for the recurrence of VTE or adverse outcomes following the cessation of therapy, and synthesise and summarise each model’s prognostic value. The review has been registered with PROSPERO (CRD42013003494).

Articles will be sought from the Cochrane library (CENTRAL, CDSR, DARE, HTA databases), MEDLINE and EMBASE. Trial registers will be searched for ongoing studies, and conference abstracts will be sought. Reference lists and subject experts will be utilised. No restrictions on language of publications will be applied. Studies of any design will be included if they examine, in patients ceasing therapy after at least three months’ treatment with an oral anticoagulant therapy, whether more than one factor in combination is associated with the risk of VTE recurrence or another adverse outcome. Study quality will be assessed using appropriate guidelines for prognostic models. Prognostic models will be summarised qualitatively and, if tested in multiple validation studies, their predictive performance will be summarised using a random-effects meta-analysis model to account for any between-study heterogeneity.

The results of the review will identify prognostic models for the risk of VTE recurrence or adverse outcome following cessation of therapy for a first unprovoked VTE. These will be informative for clinicians currently treating patients for a first unprovoked VTE and considering whether to stop treatment or not for particular individuals. The conclusions of the review will also inform the potential development of new prognostic models and clinical prediction rules to identify those at high or low risk of VTE recurrence or adverse outcome following a first unprovoked VTE.


Original languageEnglish
Article number91
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2013


  • Meta-analysis, Prediction, Prognosis, Pulmonary embolism, Recurrence, Risk factors, Thromboembolism, Venous thrombosis