Ankylosing spondylitis associated with increased risk of blood clot condition


A recent study by Arthritis Research Canada scientists has revealed that individuals with ankylosing spondylitis (a type of arthritis that affects the spine, causes chronic back pain and most often affects men under age 40) are 53 per cent more likely to experience venous thromboembolism (VTE) – a blood clot that starts in a vein and can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) – and 63 per cent more likely to have deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot in the leg veins.  

VTE is rare but potentially life-threatening and an increased risk of the condition has been demonstrated in other types of inflammatory arthritis, including psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis. But there is very little evidence of its risk in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.  

“Clinicians should have an increased awareness of this complication so that they can provide the best care possible to their patients,” said Dr. Antonio Aviña-Zubieta, a senior scientist of rheumatology at Arthritis Research Canada and the study’s principal investigator.  

This population-based study used a large dataset encompassing almost the entire population of British Columbia and included outpatient and inpatient cases of ankylosing spondylitis, as well as information from primary care and specialist records.  

“These results call for awareness of this complication, increased vigilance and preventive intervention by controlling the inflammatory process or by anticoagulation in a high-risk ankylosing spondylitis population,” Dr. Aviña-Zubieta said. “We now need to study whether or not inflammation-decreasing treatment could reduce the risk of this condition.”  

Because the data in this study covers the entire spectrum of disease, it allows for generalization to the ankylosing spondylitis population as a whole.   To read the paper, please click here.  



Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research centre in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Led by world-renowned rheumatologist, Dr. John Esdaile, Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific team of over 100 are creating a future where people living with arthritis are empowered to triumph over pain and disability. Within British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at arthritis prevention, early diagnosis and treatment, and quality of life issues.  


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:    

Heather Caulder

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Arthritis Research Canada

604-207-4010 or hcaulder@arthritisresearch.ca

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