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Coming off treatment and the risk of PTS

Learn how to reduce your chances of getting post-thrombotic syndrome

What is PTS?

Even if a DVT clot has been successfully treated, it may have done long-lasting damage to the veins and valves, resulting in a condition called PTS. With PTS, people can experience leg pain, swelling and general discomfort that can feel similar to their original DVT symptoms. However, PTS is different than DVT in that it is not a blood clot. While this may offer some relief, PTS is still a challenging condition to cope with in its own right. The effects of PTS are long lasting and may be difficult to treat.

When am I at risk for PTS?

The chances of getting PTS are highest during the first 2 years after DVT, although the risk can continue for many years after. Although PTS symptoms may appear soon after DVT treatment stops, it cannot be diagnosed with certainty for another 3 to 6 months. Since PTS poses a long-term risk, it is therefore essential to follow your doctor’s recommendations even after your DVT treatment is finished.

Sticking with your DVT treatment can help

It is important to meet with your doctor to determine whether your originally prescribed DVT treatment is sufficient. You should never stop treatment yourself without speaking to your doctor first, even if symptoms have subsided. If you do so, you risk that your DVT does not fully dissolve and causes damage to your veins.

Watching out for PTS symptoms

Contact your doctor for an appointment right away if you experience any of the following symptoms in your leg or foot:
  • Pain, swelling, aching or heaviness 
  • Cramping, itching or tingling
  • Bluish or brown pigmentation
  • Ulcer 
  • Enlarged or gnarled veins, known as varicose veins