Post thrombotic syndrome following deep vein thrombosis in paediatric patients

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Abstract

Background

Although well characterised in adults, less is known about post-thrombotic syndrome in children. In this review, current knowledge regarding paediatric post-thrombotic syndrome is summarised, with particular emphasis on pathophysiology, aetiology, diagnosis and management.

Methods

A Medline literature review was performed using search terms ‘post thrombotic syndrome’, ‘post phlebitic syndrome’, paediatric and children. Relevant articles were identified and included for summation analysis.

Results

The incident of paediatric venous thromboembolism is rising. Deep vein thrombosis can cause venous hypertension through a combination of venous reflux, venous obstruction and impairment of the calf muscle pump, leading to development of post-thrombotic syndrome. In children, this is more likely to occur if deep vein thrombosis diagnosis and treatment are delayed, if a higher number of vessels are involved, and if factors such as D-dimer are elevated at diagnosis and throughout treatment. Post-thrombotic syndrome occurs in about 26% of paediatric deep vein thrombosis, though the results of individual studies vary widely. A number of tools exist to diagnose paediatric post-thrombotic syndrome, including the modified Villalta scale and Manco-Johnson instrument. Once post-thrombotic syndrome develops, the mainstay of treatment remains supportive, with little evidence of benefit from pharmacological measures.

Conclusion

Surgical or interventional treatment is not advised except in exceptional cirumstances, due to variable prognosis of PTS in paediatric populations with rising incidence of paediatric venous thromboembolism, it follows that the prevalence of post-thrombotic syndrome in children may also increase. Evidence-based venous thromboembolism prevention strategies need to be implemented for prevention of deep vein thrombosis, but when it does occur, deep vein thrombosis requires prompt and effective treatment to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome. Optimum treatment strategies for post-thrombotic syndrome require further investigation.

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