, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 21–30 | Cite as

Pathogenesis of vascular complications in Cushing’s syndrome

  • Predrag Miljic
  • Dragana Miljic
  • Joshua William Cain
  • Márta Korbonits
  • Vera PopovicEmail author


Chronic exposure to high glucocorticoid levels in Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is often associated with alterations in the hemostatic system and the expression of prothrombotic phenotypes. Increased frequency of both atherothrombotic and venous thromboembolic events (VTE) has been reported in patients with CS. In general, cardiovascular complications in these patients cause a five-fold increase in mortality compared to the normal population. Although numerous abnormalities in the hemostatic system have been detected in patients with CS, the underlying mechanisms of the prothrombotic state are not fully elucidated. High levels of factor VIII and von Willebrand factor, with evidence of enhanced thrombin generation and decreased fibrinolytic activity, have been documented in several studies. However, it is not clear to what extent these changes contribute to the shift of hemostatic balance towards the hypercoagulable state and expression of thrombophilic phenotypes. Thrombosis is usually a multicausal disease, and all three components of the so-called Virchow triad, namely 1) vascular abnormalities and endothelial dysfunction, 2) hypercoagulability and 3) stasis, may play a variable role in the pathogenesis of the prothrombotic state in CS patients. Larger studies are needed to establish strategies for prevention of cardiovascular complications in patients with Cushing’s syndrome.

Key words

Cushing’s syndrome Hypercoagulability Vascular complications 


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Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Predrag Miljic
    • 1
  • Dragana Miljic
    • 2
  • Joshua William Cain
    • 3
  • Márta Korbonits
    • 3
  • Vera Popovic
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Clinic for Hematology, University Clinical Centre of Serbia, Faculty of MedicineBelgrade UniversityBelgradeUK
  2. 2.Clinic for Endocrinology, University Clinical Centre of Serbia, Faculty of MedicineBelgrade UniversityBelgradeUK
  3. 3.Department of Endocrinology, Barts and the London School of MedicineQueen Mary University of LondonUK

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