Is there a role for intervention radiology for the treatment of lower limb deep vein thrombosis in the era of direct oral anticoagulants? A comprehensive review

Published:April 11, 2018DOI:


      • Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) complicates up to 40% of lower limb vein thrombosis
      • Systemic thrombolysis reduces PTS but increases bleeding risk
      • Catether-directed thrombolysis does not reduce PTS vs. anticoagulation alone


      Despite recent advances in the treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) provided by Direct Oral Anticoagulants (DOAC), a substantial proportion of lower limb DVT patients will develop some degree of post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) within 2 years.
      Systemic thrombolysis, although effective in reducing the risk of PTS and leg ulceration, is associated with a high risk of major bleeding, making it unsuitable for the vast majority of patients.
      A local approach, aimed at delivering the fibrinolytic drug directly into, or near to, the thrombus surface, is attractive because of the possibility of lowering of the administered drug dose, thus reducing the bleeding risks.
      However, even after the recent publication of the ATTRACT trial, only weak evidence is available about the efficacy and safety of Catheter Directed Thrombolysis (CDT), either alone (pharmacological technique) or in combination with additional endovascular approaches (pharmacomechanical technique, PMT) including percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy, angioplasty with or without stenting and ultrasound-assisted CDT.
      The present review is aimed at providing the physicians with a comprehensive evaluation of the current evidence about this relevant topic, in order to build a reliable conceptual framework for a more appropriate use of this resource.


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