Effort Thrombosis Provoked by Saxophone Performance

J Emerg Med. 2019 Mar;56(3):323-326. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2018.12.003. Epub 2019 Jan 9.


Background: Internal jugular venous thrombosis (IJVT) is an uncommon condition rarely diagnosed in the outpatient setting. IJVT carries significant morbidity and mortality and must be considered in the differential diagnosis for new-onset neck pain and swelling, especially in the emergency setting. Paget-Schroetter syndrome (PSS), or primary thrombosis secondary to effort, is an uncommon, likely under-recognized etiology of thrombosis. We report a case of PSS extending from the right subclavian vein into the right internal jugular vein, suspected based upon patient history and physical examination and confirmed by point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). We then review the presentation, causes, and diagnostic standards for PSS.

Case report: We present a case of a 79-year-old man who presented to the Emergency Department with acute right-sided neck pain 1 day after playing the saxophone for 4 h the prior evening. POCUS confirmed Paget-Schroetter syndrome, or primary effort thrombosis of the internal jugular vein. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: To our knowledge, this is the first documented case of PSS resulting from venous stasis with prolonged Valsalva maneuver and vascular trauma with activity of playing the saxophone. The significance of this case is the unusual etiology of a rare presentation and the ability to diagnose this condition quickly and accurately with POCUS.

Keywords: Paget-Schroetter; effort thrombosis; internal jugular vein; point-of-care ultrasound; saxophone.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Point-of-Care Systems / trends
  • Ultrasonography / methods
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis / complications*
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis / physiopathology
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / physiopathology


  • Anticoagulants