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Superficial Venous Thrombosis May Herald Greater Risks

Last Updated: February 16, 2010.

Given that many patients with superficial venous thrombosis also have deep venous thrombosis at presentation, and a considerable number develop thromboembolic complications in following months, superficial venous thrombosis may be more of a concern than previously thought, according to research published in the Feb. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Given that many patients with superficial venous thrombosis (SVT) also have deep venous thrombosis (DVT) at presentation, and a considerable number develop thromboembolic complications in following months, SVT may be more of a concern than previously thought, according to research published in the Feb. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Hervé Decousus, M.D., of the Hôpital Nord in Saint-Étienne Cedex, France, and colleagues analyzed data from 844 adults (median age, 65 years) with symptomatic SVT in the legs of more than 5 cm in length on compression ultrasonography.

The researchers found that, at inclusion, nearly one-quarter also had DVT or symptomatic pulmonary embolism, the latter of which affected 3.9 percent. Of 586 patients with isolated SVT who were followed at three months, 3.3 percent developed extension of their SVT, 2.8 percent developed DVT, 1.9 percent had recurrence of SVT, and 0.5 percent had pulmonary embolism. Factors linked to complications at follow-up included male sex; history of cancer, DVT, or pulmonary embolism; and absence of varicose veins.

"In conclusion, our findings suggest that symptomatic SVT of the lower limbs is not entirely benign. Many patients have venous thromboembolism at the time of presentation, and those without venous thromboembolism are at some risk for complications at three months -- including symptomatic pulmonary embolism and proximal DVT," the authors write.

The study was supported by GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis. Several authors reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Aventis.

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