• Single or repetitive episodes of lower-extremity venous thrombosis may result in venous obstruction, valvular incompetence, and the postthrombotic syndrome. Seventy-seven patients with ileofemoral deep venous thrombosis diagnosed with biplane phlebograms received routine anticoagulant therapy and follow-up with clinical and noninvasive vascular examinations (reflux photoplethysmography, Doppler ultrasonography, and venous outflow plethysmography). The results of the final visit (mean, 25 months; range, three to 50 months) revealed that 53 patients (69%) had evidence of edema and/or hyperpigmentation and five patients (6%) had ulceration. Doppler ultrasonography was 77% sensitive (41 of 53 patients) and 95% specific (41 of 43 patients) at identifying patients with postthrombotic sequelae. We conclude that noninvasive testing throughout the rehabilitative period following acute deep venous thrombosis will identify patients at risk for postthrombotic symptoms. This information may alert the clinician toward initiating elastic compressive therapy in hopes of prolonging a disease-free interval.
(Arch Surg 1986;121:765-768)