Superficial vein thrombosis: risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment

Herve Decousus, Magali Epinat, Karine Guillot, Sara Quenet, Christian Boissier, Bernard Tardy
Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine 2003, 9 (5): 393-7
Superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) risk factors are close to those of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Diagnosis is made in a clinical setting but ultrasonography is useful to eliminate concomitant deep vein thrombosis (DVT). For SVT of the lower limbs, which is the main location, varicose veins represent the principal cause but underlying conditions (e.g.: autoimmune diseases, malignancy or thrombophilia) must be sought in idiopathic, migrant or recurrent SVT and in the absence of varicose veins. Concomitant DVT and pulmonary embolism can occur in approximately 15% and 5% respectively. Historical treatments consist of anti-inflammatory agents plus elastic stockings and, in case of varicose veins, thrombectomy and stripping. Other treatments (anticoagulants, vein ligation) were assessed to limit the VTE risk. A one-month prophylactic dose of low molecular weight heparin plus elastic stockings could be the appropriate strategy in most cases. Other studies are needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn.

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