Effort Thrombosis

Also Known As:

PSS, Paget-Schroetter Syndrome, Paget-von Schrötter Disease, Upper Extremity DVT, UEDVT

What is Effort Thrombosis?

Thrombosis is a general term describing the condition which occurs when a blood clot develops within a blood vessel, causing the blood flow to be restricted or completely stopped.

Effort Thrombosis is a rare type of Deep Venous Thrombosis, that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside the upper body. Effort Thrombosis clots typically form in the axillary or subclavian veins of the arms, shoulders and neck.

Effort Thrombosis can occur in a young, healthy person who plays sports that use the upper arms a lot. The veins can get squeezed by the muscles around them and this pressure, along with repeated movements, can cause a blood clot.

Effort Thrombosis can develop into a very serious condition called a Pulmonary Embolism. This occurs when blood clots in the veins break loose, travel through the bloodstream and block the flow of blood to the lungs.


Virchow’s Triad (or the Triad of Virchow), describes the three broad categories that are thought to contribute to Thrombosis:
•   Hypercoagulability: Abnormalities in blood coagulation, fibrinolytic pathways and in platelet function
•   Vascular Wall Injury/Dysfunction: Injuries and/or trauma to the interior lining of blood vessels
•   Circulatory Stasis: The slowing or stopping of blood flow

Factors that can increase the risk of developing Effort Thrombosis include:
•   Strenuous activity
•   Blood-clotting disorders
•   Injury or surgery
•   Cancer and cancer treatment
•   Physical abnormalities
•   Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
•   Recent insertion of a Central Venous Catheter (CVC)


People may not find out that they have Effort Thrombosis until they’ve gone through emergency treatment for a Pulmonary Embolism.

The most common symptoms of Effort Thrombosis include:
•   Shoulder pain
•   Neck pain
•   Chest pain
•   Swelling of the arm or hand
•   Bluish skin colour
•   Pain that travels to the arm or forearm
•   Hand weakness

If a person notices any symptoms of Effort Thrombosis, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention, because severe life-threatening complications can occur.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Effort Thrombosis is diagnosed by a Doctor using a physical examination, blood tests and scans. The Doctor may also order the following tests:
•   Ultrasound Scan
•   D-Dimer blood test
•   MRI Scan
•   Venogram
•   X-Ray

The severity of the Effort Thrombosis will determine the exact treatment used. The main treatments include:
•   Anticoagulant Medications
•   Antiplatelet Medications
•   Inferior Vena Cava Filter
•   Endovascular treatment
•   Surgery
•   Thrombolytic Medications

Additional Information

According to The National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), about 10 percent of all DVTs occur in the upper extremity. Upper Extremity DVTs affect about 3 out of every 100,000 people.

Also see: Thrombosis, Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Published Date:

17th December 2018


Mediv8 Admin