<h4>Background</h4>The occurrence of venous thromboembolisms (VTE) in association with sporting activity has been described but not yet systematically explored. The aim of this study was to determine the sites at which VTE occur in athletes, the accompanying features, and the special features of the symptoms and diagnosis, so that physicians can take the findings into consideration.<h4>Methods</h4>A search of the literature in the databases PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane in accordance with the PRISMA criteria, together with a search of Google Scholar up to 29 February 2020.<h4>Results</h4>No observational studies were identified. A total of 154 case descriptions were evaluated: 89 on upper-extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT), 53 on lower-extremity DVT, and 12 on pulmonary embolisms with no evidence of thrombosis. Ninety-five percent of the upper-extremity DVT involved the region of the subclavian/axillary vein. Thoracic outlet syndrome (38%), hereditary thrombophilia/a family history of VTE (16%), intensive training (12%), and the use of oral contraceptives (7%) were identified as accompanying features. The upper-extremity DVT occurred mainly in male strength athletes and ball sports players. The lower-extremity DVT were located in the lower leg/knee (30%), the thigh (19 %), or occurred in combination in the lower leg-to-pelvis region (30 %). The features accompanying lower-extremity DVT were hereditary thrombophilia/a family history of VTE (30%), trauma (25%), immobilization (21%), and the use of oral contraceptives (11%). The lower-extremity DVT were found in endurance sports and ball sports. The symptoms may be obscured by sport-specific symptoms/trauma, and diagnosis is often delayed. Early D-dimer determination is useful and is complemented by diagnostic imaging.<h4>Conclusion</h4>VTE are found in association with sports. The background factors, the sites of VTE, the types of sports involved, and the accompanying features are all important to know. The symptoms may be obscured, and it may be difficult to reach the correct diagnosis. The possible presence of DVT must be borne in mind.
Dtsch Arztebl Int (Deutsches Arzteblatt international)
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