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Effect of Physical Activity after Recent Deep Venous Thrombosis: A Cohort Study


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 4 - p 630-634
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000158192.07412.89
Basic Sciences: Epidemiology

Purpose: To determine whether increased physical activity 1 month after deep vein thrombosis (DVT) led to worsening of venous symptoms and signs within the subsequent 3 months.

Methods: By a multicenter prospective cohort study of patients with acute DVT, we used validated questionnaires at baseline, 1 month, and 4 months post-DVT for each exposure, using the Godin Questionnaire to measure physical activity, the VEINES-QOL to measure disease severity, and the postthrombotic syndrome (PTS) scale to measure symptoms and signs usually attributed to sequelae of DVT.

Results: Of 301 patients followed for 4 months, 25% were inactive and 25% were only mildly active before their DVT. In univariate analysis, physical activity at 1 month was not associated with a change in PTS score between 1 month and 4 months (P = 0.42). After adjusting for the potential confounders of age, sex, pre-DVT physical activity, and disease severity at 1 month, the results suggested that higher physical activity levels at 1 month may be protective against worsening of the PTS score over the subsequent 3 months. Compared with those who were inactive at 1 month, the adjusted OR was 0.93 (95%CI: 0.47, 1.87) for mildly to moderately active persons, and 0.52 (95%CI: 0.24, 1.15) for highly active persons. Among patients who were active pre-DVT (N = 220), 55.5% had returned to their previous levels of physical activity or greater within 4 months.

Conclusions: For most persons, exercise at 1 month post-DVT does not appear to worsen venous symptoms and signs over the subsequent 3 months, and more than 50% resume their usual level of activity within 4 months.

1Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, 2Department of Family Medicine, and 3Department of Medicine, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Ian Shrier, M.D., Ph.D., Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital, 3755 Ch. Côte Ste-Catherine, Montréal Qc., Canada; E-mail:

Submitted for publication September 2004.

Accepted for publication December 2004.

We thank the VETO study personnel at the clinical study sites for their dedication to this project.

Drs. Shrier and Kahn are recipients of Clinical Investigator Awards from the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec. This study was funded in part by the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec and by an unrestricted grant-in-aid from Sanofi Synthelabo.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine