For acute DVT, ACCP guidelines recommend anticoagulation alone over pharmacomechanical thrombolysis (either systemic or catheter-directed thrombolysis and mechanical thrombus fragmentation). The rare patient with impending venous gangrene despite anticoagulation is the only clinical scenario in which thrombolysis is clearly indicated. Patients who undergo pharmacomechanical thrombolysis still need a standard course of anticoagulation.3
Role for Inferior Vena Cava Filters
The optimal role of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters remains uncertain. Only one randomized trial found that IVC filters, in conjunction with systemic anticoagulation versus systemic anticoagulation alone, were associated with short-term reductions in the incidence of PE but long-term increases in recurrent DVT, with no differences in mortality or major bleeding. However, no trials have compared anticoagulation plus IVC filter placement with IVC filter placement alone.25,26
ACCP guidelines recommend IVC filter placement only in patients with acute, proximal DVT of the lower extremity, and a contraindication to anticoagulant therapy. If the contraindication resolves, a conventional course of anticoagulation can commence. Combining an IVC filter with an anticoagulant is not recommended. The risks and benefits of retrievable filters require further investigation.3
Back to the Case
Our patient has a provoked DVT secondary to a reversible risk factor (surgery) without additional clinical risk factors. Her family history of DVT is not significant (her brother was >age 50 when it occurred). This patient should be treated with LMWH or fondaparinux with initiation of warfarin with goal INR of 2.0 to 3.0 for at least three months. She does not need an IVC filter, and she should use compression stockings to reduce the risk of PTS.
In hospitalized patients, treatment of DVT should include immediate anticoagulation with LMWH, fondaparinux, or IV heparin (in patients with renal failure) with transition to warfarin and a goal INR of 2.0 to 3.0. New oral anticoagulants could prove beneficial in acute treatment of DVT but require further testing. Duration of treatment is patient-specific, but most should be anticoagulated for at least three months; some warrant indefinite therapy based on risk factors.
Dr. Sebasky is an assistant professor and Dr. DeKorte is assistant professor of medicine in the division of hospital medicine at the University of California at San Diego.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Talking Points to Attract Administration Support for Venous Thromboembolism Prevention Programs. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/vtguide/vtguideapa.htm. Accessed Feb. 4, 2012.
- Kahn SR, Shbaklo H, Lamping DL, et al. Determinants of health-related quality of life during the 2 years following deep vein thrombosis. J Thromb Haemost. 2008;6:1105-1112.
- Kearon C, Akl E, Comerota AJ, et al. Antithrombotic Therapy for VTE Disease. Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed.: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2012;141(2 Suppl):e419S-e494S.
- Hirsh J, Hull RD, Raskob GE. Clinical features and diagnosis of venous thrombosis. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1986;8(6 Suppl B):114B-127B.
- Qaseem A, Snow V, Barry P, et al. Current diagnosis of venous thromboembolism in primary care: a clinical practice guideline from the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians. Ann Int Med. 2007;146:454-458.
- Tapson VF, Carroll BA, Davidson BL, et al. The diagnostic approach to acute venous thromboembolism. Clinical practice guideline. American Thoracic Society. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999;160:1043-1066.
- Wells PS, Owen C, Doucette S, Fergusson D, Tran H. Does this patient have deep vein thrombosis? JAMA. 2006;295:199-207.
- Büller HR, Davidson BL, Decousus H, et al. Fondaparinux or enoxaparin for the initial treatment of symptomatic deep venous thrombosis: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:867-873.
- EINSTEIN Investigators, Bauersachs R, Berkowitz SD, et al. Oral rivaroxaban for symptomatic venous thromboembolism. N Engl J Med. 2010;363:2499-25
- Garcia, D, Libby E, Crowther M. The new oral anticoagulants. Blood. 2010;115:15-20.
- Douketis JD. Pharmacologic properties of the new oral anticoagulants: a clinician-oriented review with a focus on perioperative management. Curr Pharm Des. 2010;16:3436-3441.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate): Drug Safety Communication—Safety Review of Post-Market Reports of Serious Bleeding Events. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/
SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm282820.htm. Accessed March 12, 2012.
- Levi M, Erenberg E, Kamphuisen PW. Bleeding risk and reversal strategies for old and new anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. J Thromb Haemost. 2011;9:1705.
- Erkens PM, Prins MH. Fixed dose subcutaneous low molecular weight heparins versus adjusted dose unfractionated heparin for venous thromboembolism. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;8(9);CD001100.Vardi M, Zittan E, Bitterman H. Subcutaneous unfractionated heparin for the initial treatment of venous thromboembolism. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(4):CD006771.
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- Schulman S, Kearon C, Kakkar AK, et al. Dabigatran versus warfarin in the treatment of acute venous thromboembolism. N Engl J Med. 2009;361;2342-2352.
- Bauer KA. Long-term management of venous thromboembolism. JAMA. 2011;305:1336-1345.
- Prandoni P, Lensing AW, Prins MH, et al. Below-knee elastic compression stockings to prevent the postthrombotic syndrome: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;141:249-256.
- Brandjes DP, Büller HR, Heijboer H, et al. Randomised trial of effect of compression stockings in patients with symptomatic proximal-vein thrombosis. Lancet. 1997;349:759-762.
- Prandoni P, Noventa F, Quintavalla R, et al. Thigh-length versus below-knee compression elastic stockings for prevention of the post-thrombotic syndrome in patients with proximal-venous thrombosis: a randomized trial. Blood. 2012;119:1561-1565.
- Roumen-Klappe EM, den Heijer M, van Rossum J, et al. Multilayer compression bandaging in the acute phase of deep-vein thrombosis has no effect on the development of the post-thrombotic syndrome. J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2009;27:400-405.
- Aissaoui N, Martins E, Mouly S, Weber S, Meune C. A meta-analysis of bed rest versus early ambulation in the management of pulmonary embolism, deep venous thrombosis, or both. Int J Cardiol. 2009;137:37-41.
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- Decousus H, Leizorovicz A, Page Y, et al. A clinical trial of vena caval filters in the prevention of pulmonary embolism in patients with proximal deep-vein thrombosis. N Engl J Med. 1998;338:409-415.