Scoring systems for the post-thrombotic syndrome

J Vasc Surg. 2013 Jan;57(1):254-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2012.09.011. Epub 2012 Nov 20.


Objective: To assess each of the scoring systems used to diagnose and classify post-thrombotic syndrome, a common chronic complication of deep vein thrombosis. The design of the study was a systematic review of the literature pertaining to post-thrombotic syndrome.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines by a search of PubMed (1948 to September 2011) using the search terms "post-thrombotic syndrome," "postthrombotic syndrome," "post-phlebitic syndrome," and "postphlebitic syndrome." A manual reference list search was also carried out to identify further studies that would be appropriate for inclusion. The various scoring systems in use were identified and assessed against a list of criteria to determine their validity for use. For outcome measures, each scoring system was assessed for specific criteria, including interobserver reliability, association with ambulatory venous pressures, ability to assess severity of post-thrombotic syndrome, ability to assess change in condition over time, and association with patient-reported symptom severity.

Results: The Villalta, Ginsberg, Brandjes, Widmer, CEAP, and Venous Clinical Severity Score systems all were assessed for the stated outcome measures. From their use in the literature, only the Villalta score was able to fulfill all the criteria described. The main criticism of the Villalta score in the literature appears to be its use of subjective measures. To that end, we propose that use of a venous disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaire in combination with the Villalta score may help standardize the subjective criteria.

Conclusions: The Villalta score, combined with a venous disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaire, should be considered the "gold standard" for the diagnosis and classification of post-thrombotic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Status
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Observer Variation
  • Postthrombotic Syndrome / classification
  • Postthrombotic Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Postthrombotic Syndrome / etiology
  • Postthrombotic Syndrome / psychology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Venous Thrombosis / complications*