Diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis. A prospective study comparing duplex scanning to contrast venography.
Duplex scanning has been proposed as a safe alternative to contrast venography for diagnosing deep venous thrombosis, but its accuracy has not been proved. In this prospective, double-blind study of 47 patients, the sensitivity and specificity of duplex scan criteria were determined relative to contrast venography for lower extremity deep venous thrombosis. Criteria considered to show the presence of deep venous thrombosis included visualization of thrombus (T), absence of spontaneous flow by Doppler ultrasonography (F), absence of phasicity of flow with respiration (P), and incompressibility of the vein with probe pressure (VC). When analyzed individually, the variables T and F had low sensitivities (50% and 76%) but high specificities (92% and 100%). VC had low values for both (79% and 67%, respectively). The best single variable was P (sensitivity and specificity = 92%). The best combinations of variables were T+P (sensitivity = 95%, specificity = 83%), T+F+P (sensitivity = 95%, specificity = 83%), F+P (sensitivity and specificity = 92%), and F+T (sensitivity = 92%, specificity = 87%). The low specificity of vein incompressibility was secondary to cases in which normal veins were difficult to compress in the thigh. All false-negative cases were from isolated calf vein thrombi. We conclude that isolated criteria from duplex scanning should not be used to diagnose deep venous thrombosis. In cases of suspected calf vein thrombosis, repeat duplex examination should be obtained in 3-4 days to determine the most appropriate therapy. In equivocal cases of proximal vein thrombosis, a contrast venogram should be obtained.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association