Pulmonary embolism (PE) after venous procedures is fortunately rare. Our goal was to analyze the data of patients who developed PE after endovenous thermal ablation and phlebectomy for varicose veins and to review the literature on this subject. We report on three patients who developed PE after radiofrequency ablation of the great saphenous vein and mini phlebectomy for symptomatic primary lower-extremity varicose veins. Early postoperative duplex scans confirmed successful closure of the great saphenous vein in all. One patient presented with chest pain and dyspnea, one with blood-tinged sputum, and the third with symptoms of saphenous thrombophlebitis. Two patients had PE from the saphenous vein thrombus and the third had gastrocnemius vein thrombosis extending into the popliteal vein. One had previous deep vein thrombosis. Computed tomography of the chest confirmed PE in all. Two patients were treated with anticoagulation, but the third patient with small PE declined such treatment. One patient underwent temporary inferior vena cava filter placement because of recurrent PE. In conclusion, PE is very rare but it can occur after endovenous thermal ablation of lower-extremity varicose veins. Selective thrombosis prophylaxis and preoperative counseling of the patients about signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis and PE are warranted for early recognition and rapid treatment.
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