Therapeutic options for subclavian vein thrombosis (SVT) include anticoagulation, thrombolysis, endovascular repair, and direct surgical intervention. The most effective method of treatment remains undetermined. We reviewed our institutional experience over 7 years with SVT patients to compare the results of treatment based on etiology of thrombosis. Nineteen patients suffered SVT secondary to malignancy, catheter placement, radiation, or hypercoagulability. Thirteen were Paget-Schroetter (PSS), or primary effort-related SVT. Patients with dialysis access procedures were excluded. Thrombolysis was initiated in 31/32 patients. Success was defined as complete obliteration of clot. Adjunctive treatment to relieve external compression or improve lumenal contour was performed on 16/32 patients (eight PSS, eight secondary SVT). Success of adjunctive treatment was defined as return to baseline activity without symptoms. Objective follow up (venography or duplex scanning) was included when available. Adjunctive treatment included balloon angioplasty (6), stent placement (5), first rib resection and scalenectomy (4), and vein reconstruction (4). Initial treatment success with thrombolysis was achieved in 26/31 patients (84%). Angioplasty failed in three PSS and three secondary SVT patients. Stent placement was successful in 2/5 patients (both secondary SVT). Surgery was performed only on PSS patients: first rib resection and scalenectomy succeeded 4/4 times, vein reconstruction 2/4. Twenty-eight patients were given long-term therapy with oral anticoagulation with good long-term results. Seven patients experienced complications, including one death. Results of SVT therapy including thrombolysis and oral anticoagulation are very good. Angioplasty and stent placement in secondary SVT patients appears to add little long term benefit. Surgery may improve outcome in selected PSS patients, although the additional benefit could not be determined by the design of this study. Evaluation and treatment limited only to PSS excludes the majority of SVT patients.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997WW54300006
View details for PubMedID 9140599