Months or years after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, a person may develop post thrombotic syndrome. Post thrombotic syndrome often occurs after a person takes blood thinners (also known as anticoagulants) for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Compression stockings are one way doctors prevent post thrombotic syndrome.
How many people get post thrombotic syndrome?
The Vascular Disease Foundation reports that about one third of patients with DVT develop post thrombotic syndrome; other sources say 60 to 70% of patients with DVT develop post thrombotic syndrome. Post thrombotic syndrome is more common in people who had clots in the large veins of the pelvis or abdomen.
What causes post thrombotic syndrome?
Although blood thinners such as coumadin prevent new blood clots from forming, they don’t break up the existing clots. A person with post thrombotic syndrome has developed damage in the vein where the clot formed.
What are the symptoms of post thrombotic syndrome?
People with post thrombotic syndrome experience symptoms such as:
- Leg swelling
- Chronic pain
- Leg discoloration
- Leg ulcers and sores
How is post thrombotic syndrome prevented?
In certain cases, DVT clots can be removed with a catheter. This type of treatment would prevent post thrombotic syndrome because it breaks up the clot, restores the person’s blood flow, and reduces the likelihood of damage to the vein valves. Using filters to catch blood clots (called vena cava filters) is another prevention method for post thrombotic syndrome.
Compression stockings and post thrombotic syndrome
People with DVT often wear support stockings to prevent the development of post thrombotic syndrome. One 2004 study found that patients with DVT who wore knee high stockings (such as Mediven, Juzo, Jobst, or Sigvaris brands) had a 50 percent reduced risk of developing post thrombotic syndrome over 2 years.
Doctors recommended that DVT patients replace their stockings (the ones in the study provided 30-40 mmHg of pressure) every six months.