Patterns of venous insufficiency after an acute deep vein thrombosis

Takashi Yamaki, Motohiro Nozaki
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2005, 201 (2): 231-8

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to investigate patterns of venous insufficiency during a 12-month period after an acute deep vein thrombosis.

STUDY DESIGN: Seventy limbs in 67 patients with an acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) involving 147 anatomic segments were evaluated with duplex scanning at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Venous segments were examined whether they were occluded, partially recanalized, or totally recanalized, and the development of venous reflux was evaluated.

RESULTS: The segments investigated were the common femoral vein (38 segments), femoral vein (33 segments), popliteal vein (36 segments), and calf veins (40 segments). There were 35 limbs with isolated DVT and the remaining 35 had multisegment DVT. At 1 year, thrombi had fully resolved in 76% of the segments, 20% remained partially recanalized, and 5% were occluded. The venous occlusion was most predominant in the femoral vein (21%) at 1 year. On the contrary, rapid recanalization was obtained in calf veins than in proximal veins at each examination (p < 0.01). Deep vein insufficiency was detected as early as 1 month after development of DVT, and the reflux was most predominant in popliteal veins (56%), followed by femoral veins (18%). No reflux was found in calf veins. Multisegment DVTs had a significantly higher incidence of deep vein insufficiency than single segment DVTs at 1 year. Development of superficial venous insufficiency was found in 5 limbs (7%) and perforating vein insufficiency in 5 (7%).

CONCLUSIONS: Lower extremity venous segments showed different proportions of occlusion, partial recanalization, and total recanalization. Calf veins showed more rapid recanalization than proximal veins. Venous reflux was noted as early as 1 month. The limbs involving multisegment DVTs on initial examination had a higher incidence of deep vein insufficiency and could require much longer followup studies.

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