Persistent symptoms after endovenous thermal ablation may suggest proximal venous outflow obstruction

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2020 Mar;8(2):231-236. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2019.04.015. Epub 2019 Aug 13.


Objective: Proximal venous outflow obstruction (PVOO) in the iliac veins and superficial venous disease are inter-related in ways not fully understood. We observed among our patients undergoing vein stent placement for PVOO a significant number having had prior endovenous thermal ablations (EVTA) in their history. This study was undertaken to better characterize these patients and develop an algorithm in their management.

Methods: In a combined retrospective and prospective data registry of 682 patients who underwent vein stent placement for chronic PVOO at a single institution from March 2013 to November 2017, 100 limbs of 99 patients (14.5% of all patients) had a history of EVTA or other superficial venous procedures before their vein stenting. Limbs with dilated truncal veins on ultrasound examination or limbs that underwent poststent EVTA or superficial venous procedures were excluded. The mean age of these 99 patients was 60.2 years (range, 28-88 years; standard deviation, 13.855). Fifty-one percent of the patients were male. The most common presenting symptom of the patient cohort was edema (n = 59), followed by venous-related skin changes (n = 22).

Results: Bilateral stents were performed in 58%, with a mean number of 2.06 stents per patient. EVTA was the primary superficial vein procedure in 97%. Bilateral EVTA were performed in 53% and unilateral EVTA in 47%. The mean time between the first EVTA to vein stenting was 1202.7 days. Patients were followed at 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, 1 year, and >1 year. The outcome for each patient at each postoperative visit was compared with preoperative parameters (subject's assessment, physical examination, and provider assessment) and was scored as follows: -1 (worse than preoperative), 0 (no change), +1 (mildly improved), +2 (significantly improved), or +3 (completely recovered). The mean outcome score at 30 days was 1.63 (84 patients), 2.05 at 90 days (62 patients), 2.09 at 6 months (74 patients), 1.93 at 1 year (54 patients), and 1.97 at >1 year (39 patients).

Conclusions: Approximately 15% of patients undergoing vein stent placement for chronic PVOO have an antecedent history of superficial venous disease and EVTA. PVOO should be considered and the patient evaluated accordingly if symptoms persisted or recurred after EVTA. Vein stent placement among these patients with PVOO will result in further symptomatic relief, but complete symptomatic relief is not observed in everyone. The algorithm for the management of these patients warrants further investigation.

Keywords: Endovenous thermal ablation; Iliac vein stenting; May-Thurner syndrome; Post-thrombotic syndrome; Saphenous vein; Vascular surgery; Venous insufficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Ablation Techniques* / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endovascular Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Endovascular Procedures* / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iliac Vein* / diagnostic imaging
  • Iliac Vein* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • May-Thurner Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • May-Thurner Syndrome / physiopathology
  • May-Thurner Syndrome / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postthrombotic Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Postthrombotic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Postthrombotic Syndrome / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Saphenous Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Saphenous Vein / physiopathology
  • Saphenous Vein / surgery*
  • Stents
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Venous Insufficiency / therapy*