The Noninvasive Diagnosis of Thrombophlebitis in the Lower Extremities: Clinical Value of Plethysmography Combined with Augmentation Methods and a New Scoring System

Roberts, H. J.; Plummer, Lynda
April 1978
Angiology;Apr1978, Vol. 29 Issue 4, p275
Academic Journal
Venous impedance plethysmography and respiratory-compression Doppler augmentation responses have proved to be diagnostically valuable in suspected thrombophlebitis of the lower extremities. These noninvasive methods can provide quantitative and reproducible data on the basis of which the presence of increased deep venous resistance can be confirmed, suspected, or doubted. A new scoring system for the composite evaluation of data from 100 consecutive patients with possible thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, or both, is presented. These procedures assume added importance in view of the diagnostic limitations, and even potential hazards, of other methods. These methods include lung scanning, radioactive fibrinogen scanning, venography, and pulmonary angiography. Serial studies can be performed with impunity for following high-risk patients and evaluating various therapeutic or prophylactic measures. The importance of monitoring the femoral-popliteal segment is emphasized, because of the greater propensity for massive pulmonary thromboembolism from thrombi in these veins than in the calf vessels. Clinical observations coupled with these studies underscore the fallacy of several widely-held diagnostic biases pertaining to deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary thromboembolism. The long-term followup of 12 patients in whom inferior vena cava umbrellas has been inserted for life-threatening pulmonary embolism is presented. The possible propensity to deep vein thrombosis from vitamin E therapy is raised.


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