Endovascular treatment in postthrombotic syndrome

Carl-Magnus Wahlgren, Eric Wahlberg, Pär Olofsson
Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 2010, 44 (5): 356-60

BACKGROUND: The postthrombotic syndrome is a chronic complication of deep venous thrombosis that leads to considerable pain and suffering to patients. We evaluated our experience of endovascular treatment for patients with chronic postthrombotic femoroiliocaval venous disease.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: From January 2003 through December 2007, 50 patients (51 limbs; 60% women; mean age 45 years; range: 24-74 years) with chronic postthrombotic venous disease were referred to our institution for interventional assessment. All patients underwent duplex ultrasonography as well as ascending and descending venography. The CEAP (clinical, etiologic, anatomic, and pathophysiologic classification) clinical scores were class 0 (no signs) in 2% of limbs, class 3 (edema) in 63%, class 4a (pigmentation or eczema) in 18%, class 5 (healed venous ulcer) in 14%, and class 6 (active venous ulcer) in 4%. The etiology was secondary (postthrombotic) in all patients. The anatomical distribution of reflux and obstruction were deep veins in 63% and a combination of deep and superficial veins in 37%. The underlying pathophysiology due to obstruction of the deep venous outflow with no reflux was found in 25% of limbs, only reflux was found in 14%, and a combination of obstruction and reflux was found in 61%.

RESULTS: There were 21 limbs in 20 (38%) patients that underwent endovascular and/or surgical treatment. One limb underwent femoral endovenectomy and 1 limb superficial femoral vein to deep femoral vein transposition. In all, 19 limbs were scheduled for endovascular treatment. The technical success rate was 84%, 3 limbs with iliac vein occlusions could not be recanalized. A total of 11 patients (11 limbs) underwent solely endovascular intervention and 4 patients (5 limbs) underwent endovascular intervention combined with femoral endovenectomy. The endovascular and surgical procedures were performed with no perioperative or postoperative mortality as well as no major bleeding or cardiac, pulmonary, or renal 30-day complications. Early thrombosis (<30 days) of the stented iliac veins occurred in 3 limbs which were lysed and restented successfully. The mean follow-up time was 23 months (range: 1-69 months). Primary and assisted-primary/secondary patency rates at 12 months were 61% and 81%, respectively. The Venous Clinical Severity score was 9.1 (range: 5-15) before endovascular treatment and 6.0 (range: 3-13) after the treatment (P < .0001). There were 30 patients (62%) with symptoms attributable to venous dysfunction or with deep venous pathology that did not undergo interventional treatment after workup. These patients continued with appropriate thromboprophylaxis and elastic compression stockings.

CONCLUSION: Endovascular treatment of chronic postthrombotic femoroiliocaval venous disease is a safe technique that can be performed with acceptable patency rates in this challenging patient population.

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