HealthDay News – Patients with upper extremity deep and superficial vein thrombosis (UEDVT and UESVT) have low risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) but high mortality, according to a study published online February 11 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Suzanne M. Bleker, MD, from the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, and colleagues examined optimal management and clinical outcome of UEDVT and UESVT. Data were included for 102 patients with UEDVT and 55 with UESVT who were followed for a median of 3.5 years.

The researchers found that 98% and 73% of patients with UEDVT and UESVT, respectively, started anticoagulant treatment. Of the patients with UEDVT, 9% developed recurrent VTE, 26% died, 8% had moderate postthrombotic symptoms, and 5% experienced major bleeding. Of the patients with UESVT, 1 had a recurrent VTE, 33% died, and none had moderate post-thrombotic symptoms or major bleeding. Eighteen percent of cancer patients with UEDVT and 7.5% of noncancer patients had recurrent VTE (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 2.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6-8.2). In cancer patients with vs those without UEDVT, the survival rate was 50% vs 60% (adjusted HR: 0.8; 95% CI: 0.4-1.4).

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“The risk of recurrent VTE was low in patients with UEDVT, and negligible for UESVT,” the authors wrote. “Mortality was high for both diseases.”


Bleker SM, van Es N, Kleinjan A, et al. Current management strategies and long-term clinical outcomes of upper extremity venous thrombosis. J Thromb Haemost. 2016. doi: 10.1111/jth.13291.