A 42 year-old male former semi-professional soccer player sustained a right lower extremity popliteal contusion during a soccer game. He was clinically diagnosed with a possible traumatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and sent for confirmatory tests. A duplex doppler ultrasound was positive for DVT, and the patient was admitted to hospital for anticoagulation (unfractionated heparin, warfarin). Upon discharge from hospital the patient continued oral warfarin anticoagulation (six months), and the use of compression stockings (nine months). He followed up with his family doctor at regular intervals for serial coagulation measurements, and ultrasound examinations. The patient's only identified major thrombotic risk factor was the traumatic injury. One year after the initial deep vein thrombosis (DVT) the patient returned to contact sport, however he continued to have intermittent symptoms of right lower leg pain and right knee effusion.
Athletes can develop vascular injuries in a variety of contact and non-contact sports. Trauma is one of the most common causes of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT), however athletic injuries involving lower extremity traumatic DVT are seldom reported. This diagnosis and the associated risk factors must be considered during the initial physical examination. The primary method of radiological diagnosis of lower extremity DVT is a complete bilateral duplex sonography, which can be augmented by other methods such as evidence-based risk factor analysis. Antithrombotic medication is the current standard of treatment for DVT. Acute thrombolytic treatment has demonstrated an improved therapeutic efficacy, and a decrease in post-DVT symptoms.
There is a lack of scientific literature concerning the return to sport protocol following a DVT event. Athletic individuals who desire to return to sport after a DVT need to be fully informed about their treatment and risk of reoccurrence, so that appropriate decisions can be made.
Circulatory and Respiratory Physiology | Public Health | Trauma
Echlin et al. Thrombosis Journal 2004, 2:8