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J Vasc Surg. 1993 Oct;18(4):596-605; discussion 606-8.

Deep venous insufficiency: the relationship between lysis and subsequent reflux.

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Department of Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98119.



Although venous valvular insufficiency is well recognized as the most important etiologic mechanism in the development of the postthrombotic syndrome, the factors contributing to valve incompetence after deep venous thrombosis remain obscure.


To establish the relationship between recanalization and valve competence, 113 patients with acute deep venous thrombosis were studied with serial duplex ultrasonography.


Median lysis times for segments developing reflux (214 to 474 days) were 2.3 to 7.3 times longer than for corresponding segments not developing reflux (65 to 130 days) for all except the posterior tibial vein. In the posterior tibial vein, median lysis times for those with and without reflux were nearly identical (72 vs 80 days). The median time to onset of reflux was significantly less than the median lysis time in the mid and distal superficial femoral veins and was simultaneous with recanalization in all other segments.


Early recanalization is important in preserving valve integrity for all but the posterior tibial segment. However, the small number of patients with reflux despite early lysis (< 1 month) or without reflux despite relatively late lysis (> 9 to 12 months) suggests that other factors may also contribute to the development of valvular incompetence. These factors may be particularly important in the posterior tibial vein, in which lysis time has little relationship to the ultimate development of reflux.

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