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BACKGROUND: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common complication during and after a hospital admission. Although it is mainly considered a complication of surgery, it often occurs in people who have not undergone surgery, with recent evidence suggesting that immune-mediated diseases may play a role in VTE risk. We, therefore, decided to study the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in people admitted to hospital with a range of immune-mediated diseases. METHODS: We analysed databases of linked statistical records of hospital admissions and death certificates for the Oxford Record Linkage Study area (ORLS1:1968 to 1998 and ORLS2:1999 to 2008) and the whole of England (1999 to 2008). Rate ratios for VTE were determined, comparing immune-mediated disease cohorts with comparison cohorts. RESULTS: Significantly elevated risks of VTE were found, in all three populations studied, in people with a hospital record of admission for autoimmune haemolytic anaemia, chronic active hepatitis, dermatomyositis/polymyositis, type 1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, myxoedema, pemphigus/pemphigoid, polyarteritis nodosa, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Rate ratios were considerably higher for some of these diseases than others: for example, for systemic lupus erythematosus the rate ratios were 3.61 (2.36 to 5.31) in the ORLS1 population, 4.60 (3.19 to 6.43) in ORLS2 and 3.71 (3.43 to 4.02) in the England dataset. CONCLUSIONS: People admitted to hospital with immune-mediated diseases may be at an increased risk of subsequent VTE. Our findings need independent confirmation or refutation; but, if confirmed, there may be a role for thromboprophylaxis in some patients with these diseases.

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Case-Control Studies, Cohort Studies, Confidence Intervals, Female, Hospital Records, Humans, Immune System Diseases, Male, Patient Admission, Risk Factors, Time Factors, Venous Thromboembolism