Deep vein thrombosis classification scheme
Editor(s)-In-Chief: The APEX Trial Investigators, C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. ; Kashish Goel, M.D.; Rim Halaby, M.D.  ;Assistant Editor(s)-In-Chief: Justine Cadet
Deep Vein Thrombosis Microchapters
Deep vein thrombosis classification scheme On the Web
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is classified based on the site of occlusion or clot formation into lower extremity DVT and upper extremity DVT. Lower extremity DVT can further be classified into proximal and distal. Symptoms presentation of DVT and complications are largely influenced by the location of the thrombus.
Classification Based on Site of Thrombus Formation
|Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)|
|Lower extremity DVT||Upper extremity DVT|
(popliteal, femoral, and/or iliac veins)
|Isolated distal |
Proximal Vein Thrombosis
Proximal vein thrombosis involves the proximal veins, including the popliteal, femoral, or iliac vein. Proximal vein thrombosis is responsible for the majority of acute pulmonary emboli and is associated with higher mortality. Clinically, proximal vein thrombosis is considered severe, and it is more commonly associated with serious chronic diseases than distal DVT, such as:
Shown below is the distribution of involved veins in proximal DVT:
- Popliteal vein: 10%
- Popliteal and superficial femoral veins: 42%
- Popliteal, superficial and common femoral veins: 5%
- All proximal veins: 35%
- Common femoral vein and/or superficial ilieofemoral or iliac veins: 8%
Distal Vein Thrombosis
Distal or calf deep vein thrombosis involves the infrapopliteal veins [ie, posterior tibial veins, peroneal veins, anterior tibial veins and muscular calf veins (soleal or gemellar veins)]. It is often associated with transient risk factors, such as:
- Recent surgery
It may also be associated with permanent risk factors such as:
- Hypercoaguable state (genetic predisposition)
- May Thurner Syndrome
Upper Extremity DVT
- It is most likely due to:
- Risk of embolization in upper extremity DVT is less than that with lower extremity DVT.
Classification Based on the Acuity of the Clinical Presentation
- Subacute and acute DVT can be differentiated not only through the timing of the clinical presentation, bust also through ultrasound findings.
- Subacute thrombosis refers to thrombosis formation involving a narrowing of the vein involved and a hyperechogenic clot; flow may be partially obstructed by this narrowing.
- Acute thrombosis can refer to:
- A vein with a thrombus that is normal or, even, wider than usual with the contralateral side of the vein being unaffected.
- A clot that, during ultrasound echos, is not dense.
- A clot that may totally or partially obstruct blood flow.
- In the evaluation of the upper extremity, the subclavian and brachiocephalic veins inability to be compressed may pose challenges for determining subacute versus acute status.
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