Background: Paget-Schroetter syndrome is a serious condition that if not treated promptly and properly leads to severe sequelae and permanent disability. In its late stage, chronic fibrous obliteration of the vein is rarely amenable to surgical treatment, except in very few select cases. Methods: We treated 126 Paget-Schroetter syndrome patients (group I) by implementing an emergency protocol of thrombolysis by catheter-directed infusion, followed by immediate surgery through an anterior subclavian approach entailing (1) decompression of the thoracic inlet and (2) repairing the vein with a vein patch to reestablish its normal caliber. In addition, we treated another selective group of 81 patients (group II) for chronic fibrotic obstruction several months after their original event, but only when the inflow was adequate. Results: Our acute emergency care resulted in a 100% long-term patency rate in group I, with no sequelae. The patency rate in group II was 100% as well, but in 74% a long vein patch, endovascular stents, or homograft implants were used. Conclusions: Implementation of an emergency approach to treat Paget-Schroetter syndrome is highly recommended to prevent the delayed sequelae of permanent subclavian vein obliteration and disability. In chronic obstruction, when feasible, we recommend a long saphenous vein patch, followed by endovascular stent implant.
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