The optimal treatment of venous thrombosis: current status and future perspectives

P Prandoni, E Bernardi, P Bagatella, A Piccioli, A Marchiori
Clinical Laboratory 2001, 47 (3-4): 151-4
Acute deep venous thrombosis (DVT) of the lower extremities is a serious and potentially fatal disorder, which often complicates the course of hospitalized patients but may also affect ambulatory and otherwise healthy people. Venous thrombosis is uncommon in young individuals and becomes more frequent with advancing age. The clinically important problems associated with venous thrombosis are death from pulmonary embolism, morbidity resulting from the acute event, recurrent venous thromboembolic events, the post-thrombotic syndrome, and the inconvenience and side-effects of investigations and treatment. The main objectives of treatment of DVT are prevention of (both fatal and nonfatal) pulmonary embolism and thrombus extension in the acute phase of the disease, prevention of recurrences of venous thromboembolism in the months following the acute episode, and prevention of late sequelae (post-thrombotic syndrome). These objectives are satisfactorily achieved with anticoagulant drugs (heparin and vitamin K antagonists), which therefore are the mainstays of DVT treatment. Other therapeutic options have a more limited application.

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