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Post-thrombotic syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Post-thrombotic syndrome
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), also called

postphlebitic syndrome and venous stress disorder is a
medical condition that may occur as a long-term
complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

1 Incidence
2 Socioeconomic impact
3 Signs and symptoms
4 Diagnosis
5 Cause
5.1 Risk factors
6 Prevention
7 Treatment
8 Upper-extremities
9 Research directions
10 References

Patient with post-thrombotic syndrome and leg


PTS can affect 23-60% of patients in the two years following DVT of the leg. Of those, 10% may go on to
develop severe PTS, involving venous ulcers.[1]

Socioeconomic impact
PTS lowers patients' quality of life after DVT, specifically with regards to physical and psychological symptoms
and limitations in daily activities.[2][3][4] Secondly, the treatment of PTS adds significantly to the cost of treating
DVT. The annual health care cost of PTS in the United States has been estimated at $200 million, with costs
over $3800 per patient in the first year alone, and increasing with disease severity.[1][5] PTS also causes lost
work productivity: patients with severe PTS and venous ulcers lose up to 2 work days per year.[6]

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of PTS in the leg may include:[7]
pain (aching or cramping)

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Post-thrombotic syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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itching or tingling
swelling (edema)
varicose veins
brownish or reddish skin discoloration
These signs and symptoms may vary among patients and over time. With PTS, these symptoms typically are
worse after walking or standing for long periods of time and improve with resting or elevating the leg.[7]

When a physician finds a DVT in the clinical history of their patient, a post-thrombotic syndrome will be
possible if the patient has suggestive symptoms. A Lower limbs venous ultrasonography must be performed to
evaluate the situation: the degree of obstruction by clots, the location of these clots, the detection of deep and/or
superficial venous insufficiency.[8][9] Since signs and symptoms of DVT and PTS may be quite similar, a
diagnosis of PTS should be delayed for 36 months after DVT diagnosis so that an appropriate diagnosis can be

Despite ongoing research, the cause of PTS is not entirely clear. Inflammation is thought to play a role [10][11] as
well as damage to the venous valves from the thrombus itself. This valvular incompetence combined with
persistent venous obstruction from thrombus increases the pressure in veins and capillaries. Venous
hypertension induces a rupture of small superficial veins, subcutaneous hemorrhage[12] and an increase of tissue
permeability. That is manifested by pain, swelling, discoloration, and even ulceration.[13]

Risk factors
The following factors increase the risk of developing PTS:[14][15][16][17][18][19][20]
age > 65
proximal DVT
a second DVT in same leg as first DVT (recurrent ipsilateral DVT)
persistent DVT symptoms 1 month after DVT diagnosis
poor quality of anticoagulation control (i.e. dose too low) during the first 3 months of treatment

Prevention of PTS begins with prevention of initial and recurrent DVT. For hospitalized patients at high-risk of
DVT, prevention methods may include early ambulation, use of compression stockings or electrostimulation
devices, and/or anticoagulant medications.[21]

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Post-thrombotic syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Increasingly, catheter-directed thrombolysis has been employed. This is a procedure in which interventional
radiology will break up a clot using a variety of methods.
For patients who have already had a single DVT event, the best way to prevent a second DVT is appropriate
anticoagulation therapy.[22]
A second prevention approach may be weight loss for those who are overweight or obese. Increased weight can
put more stress and pressure on leg veins, and can predispose patients to developing PTS.[18]
Finally, some data suggest that the use of elastic compression stockings for up to 2 years post-DVT can be an
effective method of PTS prevention,[23][24] while some data suggest otherwise.[25][26]

Treatment options for PTS include proper leg elevation, compression therapy with elastic stockings, or
electrostimulation devices, herbal remedies (such as horse chestnut, rutosides, pentoxifylline), and wound care
for leg ulcers.[7][27] PTS in the legs is often exacerbated by blockage of draining veins in the pelvis or abdomen
(iliac veins and IVC), and opening of these veins (by application of angioplasty and vascular stents by an
experienced physician) can provide significant relief of swelling and healing of skin ulcers.
Compression bandages are useful to treat edemas.[12]

Patients with upper-extremity DVT may develop upper-extremity PTS, but the incidence is lower than that for
lower-extremity PTS (15-25%).[28][29] There are no established treatment or prevention methods, but patients
with upper-extremity PTS may wear a compression sleeve for persistent symptoms.[22]

Research directions
The field of PTS still holds many unanswered questions that are important targets for more research. Those
fully defining the pathophysiology of PTS, including the role of inflammation and residual thrombus after
completion of an appropriate duration of anticoagulant therapy
developing a PTS risk prediction model
role of thrombolysis ("clot-busting" drugs) in PTS prevention
defining the true efficacy of elastic compression stockings for PTS prevention (and if effective,
elucidating the minimum compression strength necessary and the optimal timing and duration of
compression therapy)
whether PTS prevention methods are necessary for patients with asymptomatic or distal DVT
additional treatment options for PTS with demonstrated safety and efficacy (compression and
pharmacologic therapies)

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Post-thrombotic syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

7/17/15, 15:22

1. Ashrani AA, Heit JA (2009). "Incidence and cost burden of post-thrombotic syndrome". J. Thromb. Thrombolysis 28 (4):
46576. doi:10.1007/s11239-009-0309-3 ( PMID 19224134
2. Kahn SR, Hirsch A, Shrier I. Effect of postthrombotic syndrome on health-related quality of life after deep venous
thrombosis. Arch Intern Med 2002;162:1144-8.
3. Kahn SR, M'Lan CE, Lamping DL, Kurz X, Berard A, Abenhaim L. The influence of venous thromboembolism on
quality of life and severity of chronic venous disease. J Thromb Haemost 2004;2:2146-51.
4. Kahn SR, Shbaklo H, Lamping DL, Holcroft CA, Shrier I, Miron MJ, et al. Determinants of health-related quality of life
during the 2 years following deep vein thrombosis. J Thromb Haemost. 2008;6:1105-12.
5. Caprini JA, Botteman MF, Stephens JM, Nadipelli V, Ewing MM, Brandt S, et al. Economic burden of long-term
complications of deep vein thrombosis after total hip replacement surgery in the United States. Value Health 2003;6:5974.
6. Bergqvist D, Jendteg S, Johansen L, Persson U, Odegaard K. Cost of long-term complications of deep venous thrombosis
of the lower extremities: an analysis of a defined patient population in Sweden. Ann Intern Med 1997;126:454-7.
7. Kahn SR (2009). "How I treat postthrombotic syndrome"
( Blood 114 (21): 462431. doi:10.1182/blood2009-07-199174 ( PMID 19741190
8. Sato, D. T., Masuda, E. M. (July 1998). "The natural history of calf vein thrombosis: Lysis of thrombi and development
of reflux" ( Journal of Vascular Surgery 28 (1): 6774.
9. Kahn SR, Partsch H, Vedantham S, Prandoni P, Kearon C. Definition of post-thrombotic syndrome of the leg for use in
clinical investigations: a recommendation for standardization. J Thromb Haemost 2009;7:879-83.
10. Shbaklo H, Holcroft CA, Kahn SR. Levels of inflammatory markers and the development of the post-thrombotic
syndrome. Thromb Haemost 2009; 101:505-12.
11. Roumen-Klappe EM, Janssen MC, Van Rossum J, Holewijn S, Van Bokhoven MM, Kaasjager K, et al. Inflammation in
deep vein thrombosis and the development of post-thrombotic syndrome: a prospective study. J Thromb Haemost
12. Pirard D., Bellens B., Vereecken P. The post-thrombotic syndrome - a condition to prevent. Dermatology Online Journal
14 (3): 13
13. Vedantham S. Valvular dysfunction and venous obstruction in the post-thrombotic syndrome. Thromb Res 2009; 123
Suppl 4: S62-5.
14. Tick LW, Kramer MH, Rosendaal FR, Faber WR, Doggen CJ. Risk factors for post-thrombotic syndrome in patients with
a first deep venous thrombosis. J Thromb Haemost. 2008;6:2075-81.
15. Prandoni P, Lensing AWA, Cogo A, Cuppini S, Villalta S, Carta M, et al. The long-term clinical course of acute deep
venous thrombosis. Ann Intern Med 1996;125:1-7.
16. Shbaklo H, Kahn SR. Long-term prognosis after deep venous thrombosis. Curr Opin Hematol 2008;15:494-8.
17. Kahn SR, Kearon C, Julian JA, Mackinnon B, Kovacs MJ, Wells P, et al. Predictors of the post-thrombotic syndrome
during long-term treatment of proximal deep vein thrombosis. J Thromb Haemost 2005;3:718-23.
18. Ageno W, Piantanida E, Dentali F, Steidl L, Mera V, Squizzato A, et al. Body mass index is associated with the
development of the post-thrombotic syndrome. Thromb Haemost 2003;89:305-9.
19. van Dongen CJ, Prandoni P, Frulla M, Marchiori A, Prins MH, Hutten BA. Relation between quality of anticoagulant
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