An Autopsy Study of Leg Vein Thrombosis
An autopsy study of leg veins in unselected patients was performed in which postmortem venography, complete gross dissection, and microscopic examination were utilized in order to assess the incidence, location, origin, and mode of propagation of venous thrombi in the leg. The incidence of leg vein thrombosis is high; 13 of 27 patients studied (48%) had antemortem thrombi. Thrombosis in the veins of the thigh occurred often (eight patients), but thrombosis in the veins of the calf was even more frequent (12 patients). Thrombi large enough to cause significant pulmonary embolism were found in seven patients. Leg vein thrombi were found in five of the six patients in this study who had pulmonary embolism at autopsy. Initiation of thrombosis was noted in the veins of both the thighs and the calves. The valve pockets were a frequent site of origin of thrombi. Inflammation of the wall of the vein (phlebitis) secondary to thrombosis was found in one patient.
Postmortem venography is a useful and simple adjunct for the autopsy study of leg vein thrombosis. It is particularly reliable for the detection of thrombi in the thigh.
- © 1967 American Heart Association, Inc.