Effort thrombosis (Paget-Schroetter syndrome) in active young adults: current concepts in diagnosis and treatment

Nancy D Shebel, Alice Marin
Journal of Vascular Nursing: Official Publication of the Society for Peripheral Vascular Nursing 2006, 24 (4): 116-26
Effort thrombosis or Paget-Schroetter syndrome most often affects young, active adults who are engaged in sports activities or whose professions require repetitive arm movements causing trauma to the axillary-subclavian vein and precipitating deep vein thrombosis. The presence of unilateral edema in the upper extremity is often thought to be attributable to trauma from an exercise regimen rather than acute deep vein thrombosis or compression of the subclavian vein by extrinsic anatomic structures. Because this syndrome occurs in young, active adults it has the potential for considerable long-term morbidity if it remains undetected or inadequately treated. Inadequate or inappropriate treatment may cause a loss of productivity over a lifetime and significantly affect the quality of life. Although more prevalent in male athletes, it is now increasingly affecting young women as they become more seriously involved in athletic endeavors. The purpose of this article is to increase the awareness of the prevalence, clinical significance, and importance of early detection of effort thrombosis of the axillary-subclavian vein, also known as Paget Schroetter syndrome, to educate health care providers regarding the limitations of some diagnostic tools, and to introduce new methods of treatment that offer better long-term results. The prevalence, differential diagnosis, diagnostic modalities, and medical and surgical interventions that have been successfully used to treat Paget-Schroetter syndrome are discussed, and evidence is provided to support the selections. The results of patients who were identified and treated within the last 2 years at the University of Southern California Center for Vascular Care are reviewed.

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