Introduction: Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is the most common complication after a venous thromboembolism (VTE). PTS is a chronic condition affecting health-related quality-of-life (QoL). In this study we aimed to determine the risk of PTS and how it affects QoL after a first episode of VTE in young and middle-aged women.

Methods: We conducted a cohort study, including 1438 women with a first episode of VTE. Patients were recruited from 'Thrombo Embolism Hormonal Study' (TEHS), a Swedish nation-wide case-control study on risk factors for VTE in women 18-65 years of age. Consecutive patients with a first episode of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the lower leg or pulmonary embolism (PE) were included between 2002 and 2009. In 2011 all women still living in Sweden were followed up through a questionnaire. PTS was measured using self-reported Villalta score and Veins-QoL was used to measure QoL.

Results: After a median follow-up time of 6 years 1049 patients accepted participation in the follow-up study. The reported prevalence of PTS was 20 % for all patients, 28 % among women with a previous episode of a proximal DVT, 19 % among women with a previous distal DVT and 12 % among women with PE. Women with a history of leg symptoms before the first VTE-event had a higher risk of PTS (OR 3.5 (95% CI 2.5 - 4.8), with a prevalence of 32% compared to 12% in women with no history of leg symptoms. Obese women were at increased risk of PTS (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.4 - 2.7) compared to non-obese. Similar women with proximal DVT (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1 - 2.3) and ipsilateral recurrence (OR 3.8, 95% CI 1.9 - 7.7) had increased risk of PTS. Patients with PTS scored lower on Veins-QoL (44 vs. 52, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: PTS is a common complication of VTE. Women with a history of leg-symptoms before time of VTE-diagnosis have more than 3-fold increased risk of PTS. Occurrence of PTS significantly reduces QoL.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.