This information is intended for members of the public in UK only.

Complications of DVT and PE

Complications of DVT

Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a complication that may occur after someone has suffered from a DVT. Veins have valves that control the direction of blood flow and PTS occurs when these valves are damaged by the clot.

  • PTS is more likely to occur if the blood clot is above the knee, if you have more than one clot in the same leg more than once or if you are overweight
  • About a third to half of DVT patients will develop PTS, in most cases within 1 to 2 years of the acute DVT
  • PTS can cause swelling, pain, discolouration and leg ulcers
  • You can reduce the risk of PTS by wearing elastic compression stockings, which create gentle pressure and improve your circulation by helping to move blood up your leg(s). Compression stockings may also be recommended or prescribed to relieve pain and swelling caused by DVT

Complications of PE

Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is an increase in pressure in the pulmonary arteries, which carry blood from the heart to the lungs. It is caused by a clot increasing resistance to the blood flow.

  • Symptoms of CTEPH include shortness of breath, tiredness, chest pain and racing heartbeat
  • After a PE, around 5% of people experience CTEPH
  • CTEPH can cause other medical conditions and may be fatal.
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Reference information

This section contains reference information only, is general in nature and intended to provide a general overview of venous thromboembolism for the general public in the UK. It is not intended to replace in any way the opinion of a healthcare professional. For specific information about this pathology and/or detection, diagnosis, prognosis, administration and, where applicable, appropriate treatment for each specific case, please promptly consult a healthcare professional. The use of this website is subject to the legal notice, the privacy and cookie policy, and the applicable laws and regulations.