Background Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a common and potential severe complication of deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Elastic compression stocking therapy may prevent PTS if worn on a daily basis, but stockings are cumbersome to apply and uncomfortable to wear. Hence, identification of predictors of PTS may help physicians to select patients at high risk of PTS. Aims This article identifies ultrasonography (US) parameters assessed during or after treatment of DVT of the leg, that predict PTS. Methods This is a systematic review and meta-analysis study. Databases were searched for prospective studies including consecutive patients with DVT who received standardized treatment, had an US during follow-up assessing findings consistent with vascular damage after DVT and had a follow-up period of at least 6 months for the occurrence of PTS assessed by a standardized protocol. Results The literature search revealed 1,156 studies of which 1,068 were irrelevant after title and abstract screening by three independent reviewers. After full-text screening, 12 relevant studies were included, with a total of 2,684 analysed patients. Two US parameters proved to be predictive of PTS: residual vein thrombosis, for a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 2.17 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.79-2.63) and venous reflux at the popliteal level, for a pooled OR of 1.34 (95% CI, 1.03-1.75). Conclusion The US features reflux and residual thrombosis measured at least 6 weeks after DVT predict PTS. Whether these features may be used to identify patients who may benefit from compression therapy remains to be assessed in further studies.
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