The 2 most common genetic polymorphisms that predispose to a first episode of venous thromboembolism (VTE) are factor V Leiden (FVL) and prothrombin G20210A. However, the effect of these polymorphisms on the risk of recurrent VTE is unclear. We performed a meta-analysis to obtain best estimates of the relative risk of recurrent VTE associated with these genetic polymorphisms. Electronic and manual searches were used to identify cohort studies of patients with a first episode of VTE that reported the incidence of objectively confirmed recurrence following discontinuation of anticoagulation among those with or without heterozygous FVL or prothrombin G20210A polymorphism. Thirteen reports fulfilled our criteria for inclusion. Pooled results from 10 studies involving 3104 patients with first-ever VTE revealed that FVL was present in 21.4% of patients (95% confidence interval [CI], 20%-23%) and associated with an increased odds of recurrent VTE of 1.41 (95% CI, 1.14-1.75; P = .08 for heterogeneity). Pooled results from 9 studies involving 2903 patients with first-ever VTE revealed that prothrombin G20210A was present in 9.7% of patients (95% CI, 9%-11%) and associated with an increased odds of recurrent VTE of 1.72 (95% CI, 1.27-2.31; P = .19). The estimated population-attributable risk of recurrence for FVL was 9.0% (95% CI, 4.5%-13.2%) and for prothrombin G20210A was 6.7% ( 95% CI, 3.4%-9.9%). Heterozygous FVL and prothrombin G20210A are each associated with a significantly increased risk of recurrent VTE after a first event, but the magnitude of the increase in risk is modest and by itself is unlikely to merit extended-duration anticoagulation. These data call into question the cost-effectiveness of routine testing for these common inherited thrombophilic polymorphisms among patients with a first episode of VTE.