Patterns and Appropriateness of Thrombophilia Testing in an Academic Medical Center

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Clinical guidelines recommend against routine use of thrombophilia testing in patients with acute thromboembolism. Thrombophilia testing rarely changes acute management of a thrombotic event.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine appropriateness of thrombophilia testing in a teaching hospital.

DESIGN:

Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING:

One academic medical center in Utah.

PARTICIPANTS:

All patients who received thrombophilia testing between July 1, 2014, and December 31, 2014.

MAIN MEASUREMENTS:

Proportion of thrombophilia tests occurring in situations associated with minimal clinical utility, defined as tests meeting at least 1 of the following criteria: discharged before results available; test type not recommended; testing in situations associated with decreased accuracy; duplicate testing; and testing following a provoked thrombotic event.

RESULTS:

Overall, 163 patients received a total of 1451 thrombophilia tests for stroke (50% of tests; 35% of patients), venous thromboembolism (21% of tests; 21% of patients), and pregnancy-related conditions (15% of tests; 25% of patients). Of the 39 different test types performed, the most common were cardiolipin IgG and IgM antibodies (9% each), lupus anticoagulant (9%), and β2-glycoprotein 1 IgG and IgM antibodies (8% each). In total, 911 tests (63%) were performed in situations associated with minimal clinical utility, with 126 patients (77%) receiving at least one such test. Only 2 patients (1%) had clear documentation of being offered genetic consultation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Thrombophilia testing in this single-center study was often associated with minimal clinical utility. Strategies to improve testing practices (eg, hematology specialty consult prior to inpatient testing, improved order panels) might help minimize inappropriate testing and promote value-driven care.

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