Issue: 2008 > November > original article

A retrospective analysis of patients treated for superficial vein thrombosis

I.M. Wichers, M. Haighton, , S. Middeldorp


Introduction: The absolute risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) as well as extension and/or recurrence in superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) of the leg is considerable and underestimated. We retrospectively evaluated therapeutic management, thrombophilic risk factors and clinical outcome of SVT.
Methods: A database search was performed for consecutive patients with a suspected SVT of the lower extremities referred to our institution between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2004. The primary outcome measure was pain reduction at follow-up. Secondary outcome measures were progression or recurrence of SVT in the leg and the occurrence of (a)symptomatic DVT or symptomatic PE at follow-up.
Results: In 73 patients follow-up information was present
(3/76 non-evaluable patients). In 9/32 (28%) of the patients treated with carbasalate calcium, there was progression of SVT as assessed by ultrasonographic evaluation, compared with 3/11 (27%) in the low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) group and 3/6 (50%) in the no treatment group. DVT was diagnosed in 5/36 (14%) of the patients treated with carbasalate calcium compared with 1/13 (1%) in the LMWH and 1/3 (33%) in the other treatment groups at follow-up. Furthermore, 34 were tested for thrombophilic defects, 27 of whom had one or more thrombophilic defect.
Conclusion: The results of our study show that SVT may be prone to venous thromboembolism and therefore needs to be treated or carefully followed up.