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Rev Med Interne. 2012 Dec;33(12):678-85. doi: 10.1016/j.revmed.2012.05.012. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

[Epidemiology and management of isolated distal deep venous thrombosis].

[Article in French]

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Unité de médecine vasculaire, département de médecine interne, CHU de Montpellier, 80, avenue Gaston-Fliche, 34295 Montpellier cedex 5, France.


Isolated distal deep-vein thromboses (DVT) are infra-popliteal DVT without involvement of proximal veins or pulmonary embolism (PE). They can affect deep calf (tibial anterior, tibial posterior, or peroneal) or muscular (gastrocnemius or soleal) veins. They represent half of all lower limbs DVT. Proximal and distal DVTs differ in terms of risk factor profile, proximal DVT being more frequently associated with chronic risk factors and distal DVT with transient ones. Their natural history (rate of spontaneous proximal extension) is debated leading to uncertainties on the need to diagnose and treat them with anticoagulant drugs. In the long term, the risk of venous thromboembolic recurrence is lower than that of proximal DVT and their absolute risk of post-thrombotic syndrome is unknown. French national guidelines suggest treating with anticoagulants for 6 weeks a first episode of isolated distal DVT provoked by a transient risk factor and treating for at least 3 months unprovoked or recurrent or active cancer-related distal DVT. The use of compression stockings use is suggested in case of deep calf vein thrombosis. Ongoing therapeutic trials should provide important data necessary to establish an evidence-based mode of care, especially about the need to treat distal DVT at low risk of extension with anticoagulants.

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