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Research Article

Is the postphlebitic leg always postphlebitic? Relation between phlebographic appearances of deep-vein thrombosis and late sequelae.

Br Med J 1980; 281 doi: (Published 01 November 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;281:1167
  1. N L Browse,
  2. G Clemenson,
  3. M L Thomas


    One hundred and thirty legs of 67 patients were examined 5-10 years after the patient had suffered a phlebographically proved deep-vein thrombosis. Forty-seven of the limbs were normal at the time of the phlebogram, 83 contained thrombus. There was little correlation between the phlebographic severity of the thrombus and the late symptoms and signs: 32% of the legs with no thrombosis had symptoms, while 33% of the legs which had suffered severe thrombosis had no symptoms. Postphlebitic symptoms were more common in legs with aging thrombus at the time of phlebography, but upper limit of the thrombus, the age of the patient, and preexisting symptoms did not affect the incidence of late sequelae. The development of a "postphlebitic leg" does not depend solely on the extent of the initial thrombosis and can apparently develop in the absence of thrombosis.