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Disease Information : Post-Thrombotic Syndrome : Treatment

Post-Thrombotic Syndrome : Treatment

How is Post-Thrombotic Syndrome?

Compression stockings (knee-length, Class II compression of 30 to 40 mmHg) worn daily for two years after DVT have been shown in some studies to reduce the risk of developing PTS. These may be cumbersome to wear for some patients, and research on the benefit of compression stockings for the prevention of PTS is still ongoing. However, the JCAHO and American College of Chest Physicians highly recommend their use.  

Preventing recurrence of DVT is also important. This is achieved with appropriate duration of anticoagulation therapy for the initial DVT event and the use of various preventive steps during high-risk periods once the patient stops taking anticoagulants.

Steps that may help patients who already have PTS include leg elevation, use of compression stockings during the day to reduce leg edema, analgesics (painkilling medication) for pain management, and various intermittent compressive devices to help reduce the swelling for severe cases of PTS. Leg ulcers require specific care with compressive and topical therapies.

Surgical or balloon dilation procedures on the deep leg vein(s) such as catheter- directed thrombolysis (dissolving of the clot) are not currently recommended as standard of care for the treatment of PTS, although some studies have shown that aggressive treatment of a DVT during the acute stages using these and other techniques may help prevent PTS. It is not yet known whether weight loss or exercise aimed at strengthening the leg muscles have a role to play in treating PTS, but these are usually recommended. Plus, maintaining a normal body weight and exercising regularly (30 minutes per day on most days of the week) are important for overall cardiovascular health.

As current options to prevent and treat PTS each have limitations, more research is needed on better ways to manage PTS.

Post-Thrombotic Syndrome section was last modified: December 21, 2010 - 06:00 pm

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