Post thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a
long-term complication of deep vein
thrombosis (DVT) characterized by pain,
swelling, and skin changes in the affected
limb. PTS is caused when a blood clot
damages the deep venous valves. This
results in venous reflux in the lower
extremities. PTS is characterized by pain,
cramps, heaviness, swelling, itching, or
numbness and tingling of the lower leg
that is aggravated by standing or walking.
The more severe forms can cause varicose
eczema, subcutaneous atrophy, and hyperpigmentation.
In the most severe cases,
chronic skin ulceration may occur. Symptoms may take up to 2 years
to appear after the initial event, and there is little correlation between
the extent of the DVT and the severity of PTS.
Compression stockings (30-40 mm Hg) have been shown to
reduce the occurrence of PTS in patients with DVT by approximately
50%. Leg elevation and regular exercise may also help reduce
symptoms of PTS.
Dr. Garrett is a clinical pharmacist practitioner at Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, NC.