Catheter-directed thrombolytic therapy for thoracic deep vein thrombosis is safe and effective in selected patients with and without cancer
Although an increasing incidence of upper extremity venous thrombosis (U/E-DVT) has been reported, a relative paucity of information regarding the etiologic categories, precipitating causes, and proper management for this disorder is available. To settle on a strategy for the management of U/E-DVT, retrospective analyses were performed using records from the authors' hospital. In 12 patients (seven men, five women), 61 (mean) years of age, diagnosed as having symptomatic venography-proved U/E-DVT and followed up for 41 (mean) months, etiologic factors, precipitating causes, treatments, and outcomes were retrospectively analyzed. As etiologic factors, five of the patients had neoplastic disease, one had hemodialysis, and two had transvenous pacemaker implantations. Among various precipitating causes of U/E-DVT, hypoproteinemia was most frequently noted (67%). Various types of therapeutic management were selected: from thrombolysis with urokinase in six, balloon angioplasty in two, thrombectomy in two, and venous bypass surgery in one patient. Pulmonary embolism did not occur in any of the patients and only three of them complained of mild intermittent arm swelling during the follow-up period. Four patients died of neoplastic disease or heart failure (three within the first 6 months). This study, though limited, suggests that the rate of mortality depends on multiple underlying medical problems in U/E-DVT patients. Low incidences of late postthrombotic sequelae and pulmonary embolism were noted in this series. Symptomatic U/E-DVT patients could be managed conservatively with a revised supplementary therapy for their precipitating causes of U/E-DVT.