Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Image of subclavian and axillary veins in arm
Veins of the Upper Arm
Yes, it's that time of year when I like to go into hospital and have a rib removed.

For the curious:

  • Paget-Schroetter Disease is when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in the arm due to the first rib and clavicle and the muscles in the area squeezing the vein that runs out of the arm and causing it to "kink" (a bit like a hose). This causes the blood flow to slow which leads to a clot forming, which causes the blood flow to slow...
  • The rib-clavicle-muscle issue is known as Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) and is a compression of the outlet pathway between the arm and chest. There are multiple causes for this. Mine is the "poorly designed rib & clavicle" kind.
  • Isaac Hanson had a pulmonary embolism as a result of TOS. 
When it first happened to me in October 2010 I was in ICU for 10 days while the clot was disolved using thrombolytics. It's not so much the clot that's dangerous at that stage as the drugs used to treat it. You're in ICU so that they can monitor it. After a stent was inserted in the subclavian vein (veins have a "shape memory") I had my first rib "resected" -- cut up into little pieces and removed. The TV series RPA featured the procedure (by the same surgeon treating me) in that aired in September 2010 (a few weeks before I presented at RPA with the same problem). Watch it, it's fascinating. :)

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