What are the forms of upper-extremity deep venous thrombosis (DVT)?

Updated: Jun 05, 2019
  • Author: Kaushal (Kevin) Patel, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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The 2 forms of upper-extremity DVT are (1) effort-induced thrombosis (Paget-von Schrötter syndrome) and (2) secondary thrombosis.

Effort induced thrombosis, or Paget-von Schrötter syndrome, accounts for 25% of cases. [48] Paget in England and von Schrötter in Germany independently described effort thrombosis more than 100 years ago. In this primary form of the disease, an underlying chronic venous compressive abnormality caused by the musculoskeletal structures in the costoclavicular space is present at the thoracic inlet and/or outlet. See the images below.

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT). This contrast-enhanc Deep venous thrombosis (DVT). This contrast-enhanced study was obtained through a Mediport placed through the chest wall through the internal jugular vein to facilitate chemotherapy. A thrombus has propagated peripherally from the tip of the catheter in the superior vena cava into both subclavian veins.
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Superior vena cava s Deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Superior vena cava syndrome is noted in a patient with lung cancer. The computed tomography scan demonstrates a hypoattenuating thrombus that fills the superior vena cava. The patient was treated with anticoagulation alone.

In 75% of patients with secondary thrombosis, hypercoagulability and/or indwelling central venous catheters are important contributing factors. In fact, with the advent of central venous catheters, upper-extremity and brachiocephalic venous thrombosis has become a more common problem. [49, 50, 51, 52]

For more information on upper-extremity DVT, see Imaging in Deep Venous Thrombosis of the Upper Extremity.

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