Post thrombotic syndrome (PTS), also known as post phlebitic syndrome, is a condition that develops in about half of the patients who have deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While it can occur in an arm, deep vein thrombosis is typically caused by a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the leg.
What are the Symptoms of Post Thrombotic Syndrome?
The symptoms of post thrombotic syndrome include pain and swelling of the affected limb. The patient may also experience cramps and a feeling of heaviness. Standing for a long time will make the symptoms worse if the PTS affects a leg. The symptoms are usually milder in the morning and more severe at night. Elevating the limb can provide some relief.
If the swelling becomes chronic, the skin can become scaly, hard and dry. In severe cases, the skin and fat tissues start to break down and thus cause an ulcer.
How is Post Thrombotic Syndrome Treated?
As a conservative treatment, patients with PTS are usually given compression stockings designed to keep the blood from pooling. Compression stockings work by helping the muscles force the blood and other fluids to go in the proper direction. They improve blood flow and reduce pain. Compression stockings are also given to people who have just been treated for deep thrombosis in order to prevent them from developing post thrombotic syndrome.
Compression Stockings Video
Narrated by Dr. Jose Almeida
What is the Compression Stocking Like?
Compression stockings are made of an elastic fabric that is very snug at the ankle and becomes looser as it travels up the leg. They come in different strengths or levels of tightness, and the measurements of these strengths is expressed in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). People being treated for PTS usually need a Grade 2 stocking that has a strength between 30 and 40 mmHg.
Compression stockings come in different lengths. They can be knee-high, thigh high or full-length. If the post thrombotic syndrome is below the knee, the patient may use a knee-length stocking; if it’s above the knee, they will likely need one of the longer stockings. Compression stockings are usually sold in pairs, but the patient should only wear a stocking on the affected leg.
How is the Compression Stocking Used?
Compression stockings are only worn during the day, and the doctor will determine how long the patient should wear them. The patient should put their stocking on first thing in the morning, preferably before getting out of bed, to keep their leg from swelling.
The patient should take the stocking off at night before going to bed. Compression stockings should be washed after each use to clean them and help them retain their elasticity. They typically last about four to six months before they lose their elasticity and need to be replaced.