Serious Complication of Post-thrombotic Syndrome (PTS) Often Causes Lengthy Disability; Interventional Radiologists Offer Solutions Through Minimally Invasive, Image-guided Medicine

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Society of Interventional Radiology: Understand Long-term Risks of DVT

Local interviews and medical images and illustrations are available by contacting SIR's communications department staff: Ellen Acconcia, SIR manager, website and communications,, (703) 460-5582, or Maryann Verrillo, SIR director of communications and public relations,, (703) 460-5572.

FAIRFAX, Va., March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Deep vein

thrombosis (DVT) often brings with it the risk of post-thrombotic

syndrome (PTS), an under-recognized but serious complication that

often causes long-term disability for patients. During March's DVT

Awareness Month, the Society of Interventional Radiology wants to help

patients and family members to better understand the long-term risks

of DVT.

DVT, the formation of a blood clot in a deep leg vein, is a grave

condition for which doctors have historically focused on its

short-term risks. "For years, if someone developed deep vein

thrombosis, his or her care was focused on reducing immediate

harm using blood-thinning drugs; however, the prevention of

post-thrombotic syndrome, which is actually the primary determinant of

a DVT patient's long-term quality of life, had been neglected," said

Suresh Vedantham, M.D., FSIR, an interventional radiologist and SIR

service line officer. "The evidence is mounting that interventional

radiologists may soon transform the way we treat DVT in a way that

improves patients' quality of life and prevents the debilitating

consequences of post-thrombotic syndrome," said Vedantham, who is

professor of radiology and surgery at Washington University School of

Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.

Anticoagulants do not actively dissolve a blood clot; they just

prevent new clots from forming, he explained. The body will sometimes

eventually dissolve a clot, but often the vein becomes damaged. A

significant proportion of DVT patients develop irreversible damage in

the affected leg veins and their valves, resulting in abnormal pooling

of blood in the leg, chronic leg pain, fatigue, swelling, and, in

extreme cases, severe skin ulcers.

"For a long time, doctors have believed that the use of compression

stockings can prevent PTS; however, a rigorous study of compression

stockings, published recently, shows that this is not the case," said

Vedantham. On the other hand, a randomized trial evaluating the use of

clot removal with interventional catheter-directed thrombolysis-a

treatment performed by interventional radiologists who guide a

catheter or specialized device into a leg vein and thread it into the

vein containing the clot and a "clot-busting" drug is infused directly

into the clot-found a significant reduction in PTS. Since

catheter-directed thrombolysis is most effective when performed within

14 days after DVT symptoms begin, he recommends that a second opinion

from an interventional radiologist be sought if leg pain and swelling

continue beyond seven days after treatment is started. "Individuals

who received these treatments experienced fewer long-term symptoms and

significantly less time lost from work," said Vedantham, who is also

the principal investigator for the National Institutes of

Health-sponsored ATTRACT Trial, the most rigorous U.S.-based study of

these new treatments.

Information about the Society of Interventional Radiology, DVT and

post-thrombotic syndrome, finding an interventional radiologist and

minimally invasive treatments can be found online at

In light of new research, SIR will also soon be

issuing revised DVT guidelines that seek to improve the quality of

care patients receive. During SIR's Annual Scientific Meeting March

22-27 in San Diego, attendees will hear about venous thromboembolic

disease and acute DVT care and have the opportunity to take an

in-depth look at complex issues in patients suffering from superficial

and deep venous disease.

About the Society of Interventional Radiology Interventional

radiologists are physicians who specialize in minimally invasive,

targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the

least invasive treatments available coupled with diagnostic and

clinical experience across all specialties. They use X-ray, MRI and

other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, such as in an artery,

to treat at the source of the disease internally. As the inventors of

angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in

the legs to treat peripheral arterial disease, interventional

radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine. Many

conditions that once required surgery can be treated less invasively

by interventional radiologists. Interventional radiology treatments

offer less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open

surgery. Visit

Logo -

SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology

-0- 03/04/2014

/CONTACT: Ellen Acconcia, (703) 460-5582, Maryann Verrillo, (703) 460-5572,


/Web Site:

CO: Society of Interventional Radiology

ST: Virginia




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