From a recent systematic review:
Results Of 3746 trial patients, 84 (2.2%) developed 1 or more non–leg vein thromboses (superficial or deep, proximal or distal). Thromboses were more commonly incident (n = 75 [2.0%]) than prevalent (n = 9 [0.2%]) (P less than .001) and more often deep (n = 67 [1.8%]) than superficial (n = 31 [0.8%]) (P < .001). Cancer was the only independent predictor of incident NLDVT (hazard ratio [HR], 2.22; 95% CI, 1.06-4.65). After adjusting for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores, personal or family history of venous thromboembolism, body mass index, vasopressor use, type of thromboprophylaxis, and presence of leg DVT, NLDVTs were associated with an increased risk of PE (HR, 11.83; 95% CI, 4.80-29.18). Nonleg DVTs were not associated with ICU mortality (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.62-1.92) in a model adjusting for age, APACHE II, vasopressor use, mechanical ventilation, renal replacement therapy, and platelet count below 50 × 109/L.
Conclusions and Relevance Despite universal heparin thromboprophylaxis, nonleg thromboses are found in 2.2% of medical-surgical critically ill patients, primarily in deep veins and proximal veins. Patients who have a malignant condition may have a significantly higher risk of developing NLDVT, and patients with NLDVT, compared with those without, appeared to be at higher risk of PE but not higher risk of death.