Prevention and Management of the Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

J Clin Med. 2020 Mar 27;9(4):923. doi: 10.3390/jcm9040923.


The post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a form of chronic venous insufficiency secondary to prior deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It affects up to 50% of patients after proximal DVT. There is no effective treatment of established PTS and its management lies in its prevention after DVT. Optimal anticoagulation is key for PTS prevention. Among anticoagulants, low-molecular-weight heparins have anti-inflammatory properties, and have a particularly attractive profile. Elastic compression stockings (ECS) may be helpful for treating acute DVT symptoms but their benefits for PTS prevention are debated. Catheter-directed techniques reduce acute DVT symptoms and might reduce the risk of moderate-severe PTS in the long term in patients with ilio-femoral DVT at low risk of bleeding. Statins may decrease the risk of PTS, but current evidence is lacking. Treatment of PTS is based on the use of ECS and lifestyle measures such as leg elevation, weight loss and exercise. Venoactive medications may be helpful and research is ongoing. Interventional techniques to treat PTS should be reserved for highly selected patients with chronic iliac obstruction or greater saphenous vein reflux, but have not yet been assessed by robust clinical trials.

Keywords: catheter-directed thrombolysis; deep vein thrombosis; elastic compression stockings; low-molecular-weight heparins; post-thrombotic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review