Sign Up for a Free Account
  • Updated 07.06.2020
  • Released 03.18.1997
  • Expires For CME 07.06.2023

Hypercoagulable states and cerebrovascular disease


This article includes discussion of hypercoagulable states and cerebrovascular disease, hypercoagulability, thrombophilia, and prothrombotic. The foregoing terms may include synonyms, similar disorders, variations in usage, and abbreviations.


In this update, the author discusses advancements in the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of patients with arterial ischemic stroke and cerebral venous thrombosis associated with genetic and acquired thrombophilia, including the emerging topics of cerebrovascular disease due to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and myeloproliferative disorders.

Key points

• Genetic and acquired hypercoagulable states, such as factor V Leiden deficiency and antiphospholipid syndrome, are associated with cerebrovascular events, including cerebral venous thrombosis and ischemic stroke.

• Understanding the pathophysiology of the hypercoagulable state is essential to understand the associated stroke syndromes and appropriate treatments.

• Study of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment of many recently described hypercoagulable states is an active and important area of research in neurology.

• Use of direct oral anticoagulants in patients with cerebral venous thrombosis or ischemic stroke due to antiphospholipid antibody syndrome and other thrombophilias is an area of active research.

Historical note and terminology

Rudolf Virchow proposed in 1862 that the pathophysiology of thrombosis involved a triad of interrelated factors: damage to blood vessel endothelium, stasis of blood flow, and disorders of blood coagulability.

Virchow triad
Rudolf Virchow proposed in 1862 that the pathophysiology of thrombosis involved a triad of interrelated factors: damage to the blood vessel wall, stasis of blood flow, and alterations in blood coagulability. (Contributed by Dr. St...

Today, thrombophilia is broadly defined as both inherited and acquired conditions that predispose to venous or arterial thrombosis. The term "hypercoagulable state" is defined as a prothrombotic condition resulting from any specific disorders of blood coagulation. Although the clinical concept of hypercoagulability has been appreciated for decades, only since the 1980s has it been possible to identify an underlying disorder of coagulation in a subset of patients with thrombosis. These disorders may be hereditary or acquired. Activated protein C resistance due to factor V Leiden mutation, prothrombin 20210A gene mutation, protein C deficiency, protein S deficiency, and antithrombin III deficiency are the most frequently seen causes of a hereditary hypercoagulable state; antiphospholipid antibody syndrome is the most common acquired disorder.

This is an article preview.
Start a Free Account
to access the full version.

  • Nearly 3,000 illustrations, 
including video clips of 
neurologic disorders.

  • Every article is reviewed by our esteemed Editorial Board for accuracy and currency.

  • Full spectrum of 
neurology in 1,200 
comprehensive articles.

Questions or Comment?

MedLink, LLC

10393 San Diego Mission Rd, Suite 120

San Diego, CA 92108-2134

Toll Free (U.S. + Canada): 800-452-2400

US Number: +1-619-640-4660