Post-Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS)

Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), sometimes called post-phlebitic syndrome is a long-term condition that occurs as a result of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). More than one third of people who have DVT then develop PTS. It is most common for a DVT to occur in the legs but could occur in other deep veins as well.

When a thrombus (clot) stays in the vein for a long time or when DVT is not completely treated, the blockage can lead to increased venous hypertension. Inflammation associated with the process causes scarring of the vein walls and valves. Scarred veins do not expand as normal veins do, so when the flow of blood increases and they cannot expand, it causes a throbbing pain and swelling in the lower part of our legs.

The most usual symptoms of PTS are aching, swelling, cramps and pain in the leg, which is usually worse can after standing for long periods or walking and is typically relieved by resting or raising the leg.

If you develop any of these symptoms, particularly if you know you’ve had a recent DVT, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

PTS can be diagnosed by getting good medical history. Venous duplex and IVUS could be used based on the area affected.

PTS is a long term chronic condition and can affect your mobility, so it’s best to take preventative measures. The person should wear a compression stockings if you have had recent DVT. Sleeves (“gauntlets”) for post-thrombotic syndrome in the arm also exist and should be worn if there is arm swelling or pain. The other treatments may include leg elevation, pain medication, anticoagulant medication, angioplasty or stent depending on the extent of the problem.