Current management of Paget-Schroetter syndrome in the UK

Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2004 Jan;86(1):29-34. doi: 10.1308/003588404772614650.


Introduction: Untreated symptomatic patients with Paget-Schroetter syndrome (PSS) can sustain chronic disability from venous obstruction, with arm swelling, pain and early exercise fatigue. This may result in significant loss of occupational productivity and quality of life. For this reason, active management is recommended in the majority of the recent literature. The objective of the this study was to assess current trends of management of PSS in the UK.

Methods: A 9-part questionnaire was sent to 90 ordinary members of the Vascular Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland (VSS-GBI). Names and addresses were selected by highlighting every fourth ordinary member from the UK, in the 2000 VSS-GBI handbook. Ordinary members of the VSS-GBI who were clearly radiologists were excluded.

Results: Of the 90 questionnaires sent, 60 were returned (66.67%). The majority of respondents used both duplex and venography (61%) as the major investigative tools though some employed duplex only (17%). Multimodality treatment (radiological and operative) was the favoured approach. Only 17% still favoured conservative management alone. Thrombolysis was the most common intervention (86.7%) usually followed by elective thoracic outlet decompression. Most favoured a delayed approach for surgery of 6-12 weeks. First rib resection was the most commonly performed operation (58%), usually by the transaxillary approach (55%). Most of the respondents were doubtful of the role of stenting in this condition and did not use it.

Conclusions: There is no definite consensus on treatment of this condition in the UK. A majority tend to favour a multimodal approach. Thrombolysis is the most common form of treatment employed and first rib resection via the transaxillary approach remains the most popular surgical procedure. The lack of consensus of this potentially disabling condition highlights the need for randomised clinical trials to guide management.

MeSH terms

  • Axillary Vein / surgery*
  • Decision Making
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Subclavian Vein / surgery*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syndrome
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Venous Thrombosis / surgery*