Surgical decompression among Paget-Schroetter patients with subacute and chronic venous occlusion

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2022 Nov;10(6):1245-1250. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2022.06.003. Epub 2022 Jul 30.


Objective: Management of Paget-Schroetter syndrome (PSS) with first rib resection (FRR) and venoplasty is successful in re-establishing subclavian vein (SCV) patency in most cases. However, in cases with subacute or chronic venous occlusion, SCV patency may not be achieved. Thus, the role for FRR remains controversial in cases of subacute or chronic SCV occlusion. Our goal is to determine whether FRR is beneficial in PSS patients with subacute or chronic SCV occlusion.

Methods: A prospectively maintained thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) database was searched for patients undergoing FRR who were identified as having SCV occlusion on preoperative venography between 2012 and 2021. Preoperative and postoperative venous patency were determined by venography. Standardized functional outcomes were assessed using the Quick Disability Arm, Shoulder, Hand (QuickDASH-QDS) and Somatic Pain Scale (SPS) before and after FRR. The Derkash outcome score was recorded after FRR.

Results: Over the study period, 966 TOS operations were performed; of these, 401 were for venous TOS, and 33 patients were identified with subacute or chronic preoperative SCV occlusion verified by venography. The median age was 29 years, with 73% men. Eighteen patients had attempted thrombolysis; eight were performed at our institution, and ten performed at a referring facility. The median time from the symptom onset of SCV occlusion to FRR was 78 days for all patients. For the group that achieved venous patency after FRR, the time from SCV occlusion to FRR was 71 days, and it was 106 days for the group that remained occluded after FRR. All underwent postoperative venography and percutaneous attempt at SCV recanalization. Recanalization was successful in 64% (21) and unsuccessful in 36% (12). All patients experienced improvement in SPS and QDS. For all patients, the average SPS improved from 1.69 preoperatively to 0.25 postoperatively and the average QDS improved from 27.63 preoperatively to 10.19 postoperatively (P > .05). For patients who were successfully recanalized, the final SPS was 0.18 and the final QDS was 11.22 (P > .05). In patients who failed to achieve recanalization, the final SPS was 0.40 and the final QDS was 9.06 (P > .05). All postoperative Derkash outcome scores were excellent and good, with none fair or poor.

Conclusions: In patients with subacute or chronic preoperative SCV occlusion, surgical decompression and postoperative angioplasty resulted in re-establishing SCV patency in 64% of patients. Symptomatic patients clinically improve after surgical decompression regardless of whether venous patency is successfully re-established. These results indicate that symptomatic patients with PSS should be considered for TOS decompression even if their SCV is occluded in the subacute or chronic presentation.

Keywords: Occlusion; Pagett-Schroetter; Thoracic outlet; Venogram; Venous.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decompression, Surgical* / adverse effects
  • Decompression, Surgical* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subclavian Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Subclavian Vein / surgery
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / surgery
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis* / etiology
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis* / surgery
  • Vascular Diseases*