Objectives: To estimate the incidence and determine predictors of venous stasis syndrome and venous ulcers after deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Patients and methods: This population-based retrospective cohort study reviewed medical records of 1527 patients with incident deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism between 1966 and 1990. We recorded baseline characteristics, event type (deep venous thrombosis with or without pulmonary embolism or pulmonary embolism alone), leg side and site of deep venous thrombosis (proximal with or without distal deep venous thrombosis vs distal deep venous thrombosis alone), and venous stasis syndrome and venous ulcer.
Results: Two hundred forty-five patients developed venous stasis syndrome. One-year, 5-year, 10-year, and 20-year cumulative incidence rates were 7.3%, 14.3%, 19.7%, and 26.8%, respectively. By 20 years the cumulative incidence of venous ulcers was 3.7%. Patients with deep venous thrombosis with or without pulmonary embolism were 2.4-fold (95% confidence interval, 1.7-fold-3.2-fold) more likely to develop venous stasis syndrome than patients with pulmonary embolism and no diagnosed deep venous thrombosis. In patients aged 40 years or younger with proximal compared with distal-only deep venous thrombosis, venous stasis syndrome was 3.0-fold more likely (95% confidence interval, 1.6-fold-4.7-fold). In patients with unilateral leg deep venous thrombosis, venous stasis syndrome usually developed in the concordant leg (P < .001). There was a 30% (95% confidence interval, 2%-62%) increased risk for venous ulcer per decade of age at the incident venous thromboembolism.
Conclusions: The cumulative incidence of venous stasis syndrome continues to increase for 20 years after venous thromboembolism. Pulmonary embolism alone is less likely to cause venous stasis syndrome.