The post-thrombotic syndrome: progress and pitfalls

Authors

  • Susan R. Kahn

    1. Department of Medicine, McGill University, and Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Community Studies, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada
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Dr Susan R. Kahn, Department of Medicine, McGill University, and Center for Clinical Epidemiology & Community Studies, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, 3755 Cote Ste. Catherine, Room A-127, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1E2.
E-mail: susan.kahn@mcgill.ca

Summary

The post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) develops in up to one half of patients after symptomatic deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and is the most common complication of DVT. Typical features of PTS include chronic pain, swelling, heaviness, oedema and skin changes in the affected limb. In severe cases, venous ulcers may develop. The frequency of PTS is likely to be reduced by preventing DVT with the use of effective thromboprophylaxis in high-risk patients and settings and by minimising the risk of ipsilateral DVT recurrence. Use of compression stockings for 2 years after DVT appears to reduce the incidence and severity of PTS but issues remain regarding their use and effectiveness. Future research should focus on elucidating the pathophysiology and risk factors for PTS, assessing the safety and effectiveness of catheter-directed thrombolysis to prevent PTS and evaluating the optimal use of compression stockings to prevent and treat PTS. In addition, new therapies to treat PTS should be sought and evaluated.

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