Post-Thrombotic Syndrome and What You Can Do About It

Visual representation of a blood clotPeople with blood clots may develop post-thrombotic syndrome or PTS, a set of symptoms and complications that include swelling (usually in the legs), skin damage, and leg ulcers. This may be the result of the pressure that blood clots place on the veins, which weakens them.

With the right treatment for post thrombotic syndrome, however, people can avoid these unwanted symptoms.

Signs of PTS

If you have post thrombotic syndrome, you may experience a variety of signs, including:

  • Swelling and itching of the skin at the affected area
  • Easy bruising
  • Skin that rubs off or breaks easily
  • Dry skin
  • A brown tint to the skin
  • Sores near the ankle that are slowly healing (also called venous skin ulcers)

Treatment for PTS

For milder cases, PTS can be treated with a variety of self-help measures, which include the following:

Wearing Compression Stockings

Compression stockings put gentle pressure on the legs to facilitate continuous flow of blood. This will reduce pain and swelling, and may prevent the formation of blood clots. Patients should wear the stockings all day.

Keeping the Legs Elevated

Keeping the legs in an elevated position can also help reduce swelling. Health care providers may recommend an effective exercise regime. Walking and swimming can be beneficial, but should be done with a doctor’s advice and supervision.

Surgery

Treatment for post-thrombotic syndrome is usually non-surgical, but surgery may be necessary for severe cases. Surgical options for patients who don’t respond to more conservative measures include stenting and dilation of the vein. These procedures aim to restore blood flow, as well as aid in valve reconstruction, vein transplantation, or bypass grafting so that blood flow is directed around the damaged veins. These types of surgeries are a long-term solution that can improve the condition of a patient.

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It's good to know that you have a variety of options when it comes to avoiding, treating, and managing post thrombotic syndrome. Your choice of treatment will depend on your unique needs and condition.