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Improved management of the Paget-Schroetter syndrome secondary to thoracic outlet compression

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0003-4975(91)90004-a
  • Medicine


Abstract For years, patients with “effort” thrombosis were treated by anticoagulants and conservative exercise; and if recurrent symptoms developed when they returned to work, they were considered for first-rib resection. Recently, use of thrombolytic agents with early surgical decompression of the neurovascular compression has markedly reduced morbidity, such as postphlebitic syndrome and the necessity for thrombectomy. A review of 67 patients seen over 25 years showed that 34 were initially treated with heparin sodium and then Coumadin (crystalline warfarin sodium). Recurrent symptoms developed in 21 after they returned to work and necessitated transaxillary first-rib resection to relieve symptoms. Eight also underwent thrombectomy. Recently, 33 patients were initially treated with thrombolytic agents and heparin, followed promptly by early first-rib resection. The evaluation and efficacy of this therapy have been established by frequent and repetitive venograms and careful follow-up of patients. Most of the patients showed improvement with thrombolytic agents. Remaining stenoses that suggested intravascular thrombosis were usually secondary to external compression of the vein by the clavicle, costoclavicular ligament, rib, or scalenus anterior muscle. Venous thrombectomy was necessary in only 4 patients in whom the clot was not controlled by thrombolytic therapy and operative release of compression. There were no deaths in the series.

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