Determinants of chronic venous disease after acute deep venous thrombosis

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Abstract

Purpose:

The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the relationship between the presenting features of an acute deep venous thrombosis (DVT), the subsequent natural history of the thrombus, and the ultimate outcome as defined according to the Society for Vascular Surgery and the North American Chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery reporting standards in venous disease.

Methods:

Patients with an acute DVT were followed with serial clinical and ultrasound examinations. Thrombus extent within 7 venous segments was scored retrospectively according to the reporting standards (scores ranged from 0 to 3), and segmental reflux was scored as present (1) or not present (0). The initial and final thrombus scores, the rates of recanalization and rethrombosis, and the total reflux scores were then calculated from these grading scales and related to ultimate chronic venous disease (CVD) classification.

Results:

Sixty-eight patients with an acute DVT in 73 limbs were followed for 18 to 110 months (mean, 55 ± 26 months). At the completion of the follow-up period, 20 extremities (27%) were asymptomatic (class 0), 13 (18%) had pain or prominent superficial veins (class 1), 25 (34%) had manifested edema (class 3), 13 (18%) had developed hyperpigmentation (class 4), and 2 (3%) had developed ulceration (class 5). In a univariate analysis, CVD classification was correlated with the reflux score (P = .003) but not with the initial or final thrombus score or with the rate of recanalization or rethrombosis. In a multivariate model of features documented at presentation, only the tibial thrombosis score was a significant predictor of CVD classification (R2 = .06). Outcome was better predicted (R2 = .29) with a model that included variables defined during follow-up-the final reflux score, the final popliteal score, and the rate of recanalization.

Conclusion:

The ability to predict the severity of CVD after an acute DVT is currently limited, although the natural history appears more important than the presenting features of the event. The extent of reflux, the presence of persistent popliteal obstruction, and the rate of recanalization are related to ultimate CVD classification, but other determinants remain to be identified.

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