The postthrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a chronic complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that imposes significant morbidity, reduces quality of life, and is costly. After DVT, 20% to 50% of patients will develop PTS, and up to 5% will develop severe PTS. The principal risk factors for PTS are anatomically extensive DVT, recurrent ipsilateral DVT,
obesity, and older age. By preventing the initial DVT and DVT recurrence, primary and secondary prophylaxis of DVT will reduce occurrence of PTS. The effectiveness of elastic compression stockings (ECSs) for PTS prevention is controversial.
Catheter-directed thrombolysis is not effective to prevent PTS overall but may prevent more severe forms of PTS and should be reserved for select patients with extensive thrombosis, recent symptoms onset, and low bleeding risk. For patients with established PTS, the cornerstone of management is ECS, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.
Surgical or endovascular interventions may be considered in refractory cases. Because of a lack of effective therapies, new approaches to preventing and treating PTS are needed. This article uses a case-based approach to discuss risk factors for PTS after DVT, how to diagnose PTS, and available means to prevent and treat PTS, with a focus on new information in the field. (Blood. 2018;131(20):2215-2222)
BLOOD, 17 MAY 2018 | VOLUME 131, NUMBER 20