Axillo-subclavian Vein Thrombosis: Symptoms, Treatment

Overview

Axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis, also known as Paget-Schroetter Syndrome, is an uncommon disease that occurs in the deep vein of the body. Most commonly, it affects young and healthy athletes after strenuous activities. Except for common areas like arms and hands, the condition can also affect the neck, face and area around the eyes. This disease is considered as a form of thoracic outlet syndrome.

Causes

Axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis develops when a vein in the axilla or in the front of the shoulder (the subclavian vein) is compressed by the collarbone (clavicle), the first rib, or the surrounding muscle.

As the patient uses the arm repeatedly and the axillo-subclavian vein is compressed, the vein becomes inflamed. Over time, fibrous tissue builds up in the vein, making the inside of the vein too narrow to allow normal blood flow. As a result, a blood clot forms in the vein.

If you are a young athlete who often uses your arms, you may at higher risk of getting axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis.

Symptoms

In the affected arm or hand, patients with axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis can experience these signs and symptoms:

  • Sudden swelling
  • Heaviness and pain
  • Blue skin

These symptoms can mimic those of other health conditions, so proper diagnosis is significant for this disorder.

Diagnosis

Since the symptoms of axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis are not typical of this disease, your doctor will order some of these lab tests to help with diagnosis:

  • Duplex ultrasound
  • Venography that uses catheter to inject dye and then show image on an X-ray
  • CTA (computerized tomography arteriography)
  • MRA (magnetic resonance arteriography)
  • Blood tests to measure the amount of time it takes for your blood to clot

Treatment

In the early stages of axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis, medications are usually successful in controlling the symptoms and preventing further complications. These helpful medications include:

  • Thrombolytics to dissolve clots, which are often delivered through a catheter inserted into the vein
  • Blood thinners after the clot is broken up or removed, such as heparin and warfarin, to help prevent another clot from forming

Other treatment options that can help deal with axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis include:

  • A compression sleeve on the affected arm
  • Arm elevations
  • Avoiding using the arm until symptoms are gone
  • Physical therapy

Surgical options for treating axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis are:

  • Remove the rib causing the problem, as well as surrounding muscles for patients whose compression of the subclavian vein is caused by thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Restore blood flow through the subclavian vein for patients who have scar tissue or blockage or another thrombosis


Keyword: axillo-subclavian vein thrombosis.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.