Intravascular ultrasonography provides more sensitive detection of subclavian vein stenosis than venography in patients presenting with Paget-Schroetter syndrome

Jesus G. Ulloa, Hugh A. Gelabert, Jessica B. O'Connell, Rhusheet Patel, David A. Rigberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Spontaneous subclavian vein (SCV) thrombosis (Paget-Schroetter syndrome [PSS]) has been attributed to venous compression at the thoracic outlet and traditionally diagnosed using venography. Intravascular ultrasonography (IVUS) allows for a multidimensional view of vascular structures and might be more accurate in revealing venous compression. The goal of the present study was to compare venography and IVUS in patients presenting with PSS to assess the relative accuracy of each modality. Methods: Patients presenting for evaluation of PSS from 2013 to 2019 were evaluated for SCV compression using venography and IVUS. Venography and IVUS measurements of stenosis were performed of the index and contralateral limbs in both neutral and stress (arm overhead) positions. The IVUS data included the SCV diameters in the anteroposterior (AP) plane, craniocaudal (CC) plane, and cross-sectional area (CSA). Stenosis was reported as the percentage of reduction from a reference point (lateral margin of the first rib) for the venography and IVUS data. Results: For the 35 subjects, the average age was 35 years, 57% were women, 20% had presented with a documented pulmonary embolus, and 70% had initially been treated with thrombolysis. Venography demonstrated SCV occlusion in 3 patients (16%) with the index limb in the neutral position and in 18 patients (54%) with the limb in the stress position. The average stenosis in the index limbs was 41.5% (venography), and the average IVUS stenosis was 41.9% (CC), 61.8% (AP), and 74.5% (CSA; P < .05). A subset analysis revealed that in 10 of 35 patients (28%) in whom venography had identified no significant stenosis (average, 10%), IVUS had identified significant stenosis (33.5% CC, 54.3% AP, 68.7% CSA; P < .05). Conclusions: IVUS proved more sensitive than venography in detecting significant stenosis leading to SCV thrombosis. A reduction in the CSA was the most sensitive measure of stenosis. IVUS identified significant stenosis in patients in whom venography failed to do so. The greatest utility of IVUS is in the evaluation of patients with PSS in whom venography shows no evident compression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1150.e1
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • IVUS
  • Paget-Schroetter
  • Thoracic outlet
  • Venogram
  • Venous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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