Thrombotic storm revisited: Preliminary diagnostic criteria suggested by the thrombotic storm study group

Craig S. Kitchens, Doruk Erkan, Leonardo R. Brando, Susan Hahn, Andra H. James, Roshni Kulkarni, Margaret Pericak-Vance, Jeffery Vance, Thomas L. Ortel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Physicians periodically encounter patients with an extraordinarily accelerated course of hypercoagulability who develop thromboses in multiple organ systems over days to weeks. Such patients may harbor underlying hypercoagulable clinical conditions, but their clinical course sets them apart from most patients with similar risk factors. Underlying triggers of "thrombotic storm" include pregnancy, inflammation, trauma, surgery, and infection. Aggressive anticoagulant therapy may control thrombotic storm, yet thrombotic storm may resume with even brief interruptions of anticoagulant therapy. The authors of this communication formed the Thrombotic Storm Study Group in order to identify clinical characteristics of such patients, thus constructing preliminary criteria to better define, identify, and study the course of patients deemed to have thrombotic storm. The characteristics culled from these 10 patients are: younger age (oldest was 38 years old at time of presentation); at least 2 arterial or venous (or both) thromboembolic events, typically in unusual sites with or without microangiopathy; unexplained recurrence; and frequently proceeded by a trigger. The following characteristics were not used in defining thrombotic storm: underlying malignancies; use of acute myocardial infarction as a defining arterial event in the setting of established coronary artery disease; use of cocaine; thrombotic complications expected with various intravascular devices; known paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria or myeloproliferative disorders; severe trauma; and premorbid conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Hypercoagulability
  • Thrombosis
  • Thrombotic storm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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