A systematic review and meta-analysis for the management of Paget-Schroetter syndrome

Georgios Karaolanis, Constantine N Antonopoulos, Stylianos G Koutsias, Alexandros Giosdekos, Efstathios K Metaxas, Petros Tzimas, Gert J de Borst, George Geroulakos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: There is currently no general agreement on the optimal treatment of Paget-Schroetter syndrome. Most centers have advocated an interventional approach that is based on the results of small institutional series. The purpose of our meta-analysis was to focus on the safety and efficacy of thrombolysis or anticoagulation with decompression therapy. A detailed description of the epidemiologic, etiologic, and clinical characteristics, along with radiologic findings and treatment option details, was also performed. Methods: The current meta-analysis was conducted using the PRISMA guidelines. Studies reporting on spontaneous thrombosis or thrombosis after strenuous activities of axillary-subclavian vein were considered eligible. Analyses of all retrospective studies were conducted, and pooled proportions with 95% confidence intervals of outcome rates were calculated. Results: Twenty-five studies with 1511 patients were identified. Among these patients, 1177 (77.9%) had thrombolysis, 658 (43.5%) had anticoagulation, and 1293 (85.6%) patients had decompression therapy of the thoracic outlet. Complete thrombus resolution was estimated at 78.11% of the patients after thrombolysis, and the respective pooled proportion for partial resolution of thrombus was 23.72%. Despite thrombolytic therapy, 212 patients underwent additional balloon angioplasty for residual stenosis, although only 36 stents were implanted. After anticoagulation, a total of 40.70% of the patients had complete thrombus resolution, whereas partial resolution was occurred in 29.13% of the patients. During follow-up, a total of 51.75% of the patients with any initial treatment modality had no remaining thrombus, and 84.87% of these patients were free of symptoms. We also estimated that 76.88% of the patients had a Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score of <20, indicating no or mild symptoms after treatment. A subgroup meta-analysis with 20 studies and 1309 patients, showed significantly improved vein patency and symptom resolution in patients who had first rib resection with or without venoplasty, compared with those who had only thrombolysis. Conclusions: Although no randomized controlled data are available, our analysis strongly suggested higher rates of thrombus and symptoms resolution with thrombolysis, followed by first rib resection. A prospective randomized trial comparing anticoagulants with thrombolysis and decompression of thoracic outlet is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-810.e5
JournalJournal of vascular surgery. Venous and lymphatic disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Anticoagulants/administration & dosage
  • Decompression, Surgical/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents/administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteotomy/adverse effects
  • Recovery of Function
  • Ribs/diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombolytic Therapy/adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Extremity Deep Vein Thrombosis/diagnostic imaging
  • Vascular Patency


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