Long-term Sequelae of Calf Vein Thrombosis Treated with Heparin or Low-dose Streptokinase
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A prospective randomized study was performed to investigate the long-term sequelae of calf vein thrombosis (CVT) and correlate them to the success of the initial treatment. Thirty-six patients with symptomatic CVT, verified by venography, were treated with heparin or low-dose streptokinase (SK) combined with low-dose heparin. Venography was repeated after 1 week, and long-term follow-up was performed clinically and with foot volumetry after an average of 5 years. Since the low-dose SK regimen led to serious hemorrhagic side-effects in a parallel study, the present investigation was discontinued prematurely. The thrombolysis achieved was greater with SK but, since the initial thrombi were somewhat larger in this group, no significant difference in the average size of the thrombi after therapy could be displayed between the groups. The long-term sequelae and results of foot volumetry were also equal. Signs or symptoms of venous insufficiency were found in 37%, and foot volumetry showed deep venous insufficiency in 26% of the cases. There was a correlation between the hemodynamic change, as assessed by foot volumetry, and the venographic severity. This relation was stronger for the size of the thrombus after treatment than for the initial size. Thus, it seems important to limit the extent of a CVT in order to minimize the long-term sequelae, but administration of SK is not justified due to side-effects.
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