Prevalence of venous obstructions in (recurrent) venous thromboembolism: a case-control study

Pascale Notten, Rob H. W. Strijkers, Irwin Toonder, Hugo ten Cate, Arina J. ten Cate-Hoek*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background The role of venous obstructions as a risk factor for recurrent venous thromboembolism has never been evaluated. This study aimed to determine whether there is a difference in prevalence of venous obstructions between patients with and without recurrent venous thromboembolism. Furthermore, its influence on the development of post-thrombotic syndrome and patient-reported quality of life was assessed. Methods This matched nested case-control study included 32 patients with recurrent venous thromboembolism (26 recurrent deep-vein thrombosis and 6 pulmonary embolism) from an existing prospective cohort of deep-vein thrombosis patients and compared them to 24 age and sex matched deep-vein thrombosis patients without recurrent venous thromboembolism. All participants received standard post-thrombotic management and underwent an additional extensive duplex ultrasonography. Post-thrombotic syndrome was assessed by the Villalta-scale and quality of life was measured using the SF36v2 and VEINES-QOL/Sym-questionnaires. Results Venous obstruction was found in 6 patients (18.8%) with recurrent venous thromboembolism compared to 5 patients (20.8%) without recurrent venous thromboembolism (Odds ratio 0.88, 95%CI 0.23-3.30,p = 1.000). After a median follow-up of 60.0 months (IQR 41.3-103.5) the mean Villalta-score was 5.55 +/- 3.02 versus 5.26 +/- 2.63 (p = 0.909) and post-thrombotic syndrome developed in 20 (62.5%) versus 14 (58.3%) patients, respectively (Odds ratio 1.19, 95%CI 0.40-3.51,p = 0.752). If venous obstruction was present, it was mainly located in the common iliac vein (n = 7, 63.6%). In patients with an objectified venous obstruction the mean Villalta-score was 5.11 +/- 2.80 versus 5.49 +/- 2.87 in patients without venous obstruction (p = 0.639). Post-thrombotic syndrome developed in 6 (54.5%) versus 28 (62.2%) patients, respectively (Odds ratio 1.37, 95%CI 0.36-5.20,p = 0.736). No significant differences were seen regarding patient-reported quality of life between either groups. Conclusions In this exploratory case-control study patients with recurrent venous thromboembolism did not have a higher prevalence of venous obstruction compared to patients without recurrent venous thromboembolism. The presence of recurrent venous thromboembolism or venous obstruction had no impact on the development of post-thrombotic syndrome or the patient-reported quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages9
JournalThrombosis Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2020


  • Venous thromboembolism
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Recurrence
  • Postthrombotic syndrome
  • Quality of life

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