BACKGROUND: Long-term surveillance data on venous stent integrity is sparse. There is limited knowledge on whether duplex ultrasound (DUS) can detect potential stent deformities such as kinking, straightening, and fracture, which may impact long-term patency of the stented veins.
PURPOSE: To assess venous stent integrity after at least five years of follow-up and to establish the efficacy of DUS as surveillance in patients with venous stent.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 45 patients with acute iliac-femoral deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treated with catheter directed thrombolysis (CDT) and stenting >5 years before follow-up. Stents were evaluated with 3D volume low dose non-contrast computed tomography (CT) and DUS for kinking, straightening, stent fracture, and patency. Results from CT scans and DUS were compared to assess the overall agreement between the methods.
RESULTS: Median follow-up was 13.2 years (mean = 11.2 years; range = 5.2-15.8 years). 3D CT reconstructions showed normal stent configuration in 47 stents (89%). All intact stents were identified by DUS. In the remaining six stents, 3D CT reconstructions showed compression, tapering, kinking, and minor fracture. DUS recognized all stent complications except the minor fracture. Overall agreement between CT and DUS was 98% (kappa = 0.90). Two cases of stent occlusion were found.
CONCLUSION: The long-term physical resilience of iliac vein stents evaluated with 3D CT in patients treated with CDT for iliofemoral DVT was high. Stent deformities were mostly compression, whereas fracture was rarely seen. DUS seems to be sufficient to evaluate venous stent integrity.