Scientific article
Open access

The history and historical treatments of deep vein thrombosis

Published inJournal of thrombosis and haemostasis, vol. 11, no. 3, p. 402-411
Publication date2013

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a common disease. However, unlike that of varicose veins, which have been depicted since antiquity in art and literature, its description was more recent in the history of medicine. The first well-documented case of DVT was reported during the Middle Ages: in 1271, Raoul developed a unilateral edema in the ankle, which then extended to the leg. The number of reported DVT cases steadily increased thereafter, particularly in pregnant and postpartum women. During the first half of the 20th century, well before the discovery of anticoagulants, many therapeutic approaches were used, and arose from the pathologic hypotheses that prevailed at their time. Despite the development of anticoagulants, and the fact that they were thought to dramatically decrease DVT mortality, numerous complementary treatments have also been developed during the last 50 years: they include vena cava clips and surgical thrombectomy, and are intended to decrease mortality or to prevent late complications. Most of these treatments have now been abandoned, or even forgotten. In this review, we recall also the discovery and the use of vitamin K antagonists and heparin, which have constituted the mainstay of treatment for decades. We also bring some perspective to historical aspects of this disease and its treatment, notably regarding elastic compression and early mobilization, but also abandoned and complementary treatments. In these times of change regarding DVT treatment, mainly marked by the arrival of new oral anticoagulants, efforts of physicians through the ages to treat this common disease provide a beautiful example of the history of knowledge.

  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants/history/therapeutic use
  • Endovascular Procedures/history
  • Female
  • History, 15th Century
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Medieval
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine in Art
  • Paintings
  • Pregnancy
  • Stockings, Compression/history
  • Thrombectomy/history
  • Thrombolytic Therapy/history
  • Venous Thrombosis/diagnosis/history/therapy
Citation (ISO format)
GALANAUD, J-P, LAROCHE, J-P, RIGHINI, Marc Philip. The history and historical treatments of deep vein thrombosis. In: Journal of thrombosis and haemostasis, 2013, vol. 11, n° 3, p. 402–411. doi: 10.1111/jth.12127
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1538-7836

Technical informations

Creation10/29/2013 10:40:00 AM
First validation10/29/2013 10:40:00 AM
Update time03/14/2023 8:49:18 PM
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