Tag Archives: Compression Treatment

Diagnosis & Treatment of Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS)

Incidence and Prevalence of PTS

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) affects 1 to 3 of 1000 people in the general population annually (1,2)Between 20% to 50% of patients with DVT develop post thrombotic syndrome (PTS)(3-8). PTS usually develops within a few months to a few years after DVT. Incidence of PTS continues to increase, even 10 to 20 years after DVT diagnosis and up to 10% of patients develop severe PTS, which may include venous ulcers (9-10).

Signs and symptoms

Post-thrombotic syndrome symptoms and signs include swelling, heaviness, fatigue, itch, pain or cramps and also skin discolouration (pigmentation, redness, eczema) and skin breakdown (ulcers). Symptoms usually get worse at the end of the day or after standing, and improve with rest or limb elevation.

Post Thrombotic Syndrome

Pathophysiology of PTS

It is believed that that major trigger is venous hypertension(high pressure in the venous not arterial system). Normally, when an individual isat rest in the supine position, venous pressure is low. When a personstands up and remain motionless, venous pressure is highest. While an individual is walking, venous pressure is reduces asblood is ejected by contraction of the calf muscles. Well working venous valves then help out to keep blood moving towards the hart. Any damage to the venous valves impedes venous return.This leads to venous hypertension. Any obstruction in the venous system again works against the flow and increases venous pressure in the leg and foot. Combination of reflux and obstruction causes usually the worst symptoms 11).


Clinical assessment, venous ultrasound scan and CT or MRI are usually necessary to correctly diagnose the problem.

In selected patients in whom iliac vein obstruction is suspected on also invasive imagining is needed and includes contrast venography with or without intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). In those cases where obstruction or compression was verified an endovascular techniques can be used at the same time to correct the problem.


Compression should be used to treat all patients with venous ulcers. A number of reports describe the technical success rate and short-term outcome after percutaneous relief of iliac vein obstruction. The largest, most carefully studied cohort was that of Neglen et al,150 who reported results of venoplasty and stenting in 464 limbs of patients with PTS followed up for at least 5 years. Ulcer healing occurred in 55%. Resting arm-foot pres- sure differential and QoL significantly improved after venoplasty and stenting. Procedure-related thrombosis occurred in 2.6% (10). There are however number of other procedures to help to get the venous pressure under control. These include sclerotherapy, laser saphenous vein ablation, stripping, phlebotomy and other techniques. These have to be taken into account as every patient is different and all interventions have to be “tailored” individually.


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