Deep Venous Thrombosis: An Interventionalist's Approach

Ochsner J. 2014 Winter;14(4):633-40.


Background: Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) of the lower extremity has traditionally been anatomically categorized into proximal DVT (thrombosis involving the popliteal vein and above) and distal DVT (isolated calf vein thrombosis). Proximal DVT involving the common femoral and/or iliac veins, referred to as iliofemoral DVT (IFDVT), represents a disease process with a worse prognosis and higher risk for poor clinical outcomes compared to proximal DVT not involving the common femoral or iliac draining veins.

Methods: This review discusses therapeutic options for treatment of lower extremity IFDVT, including adjuvant anticoagulation and catheter-based invasive therapies; literature supporting current acute interventional techniques; and the recommendations from the recently published American Heart Association guidelines.

Results: Patients with IFDVT represent an opportune subset of patients for acute interventional management with currently available techniques. This subset of patients with proximal DVT has a worse prognosis, is less well studied, and benefits more from acute intervention compared to patients with proximal DVT or distal DVT.

Conclusion: Invasive catheter-based therapies that remove thrombus and correct venous outflow obstructions improve outcomes and morbidity in patients with IFDVT. Future trials that address IFDVT specifically will improve our understanding and the proper management of this higher-risk subset of patients with DVT.

Keywords: May-Thurner Syndrome; mechanical thrombolysis; thrombectomy; venous thromboembolism; venous thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Review