The Normal Doppler Venous Examination

Baker, William H.; Hayes, Andrew C.
April 1983
Angiology;Apr1983, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p283
Academic Journal
The clinical diagnosis of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is but 50% accurate when compared to the results of contrast venography. This clinical inaccuracy had led to the dependence of the physician upon laboratory diagnosis. Whereas contrast venography is the gold standard of diagnosis, its expense, special equipment, personnel, and discomfort make it unsuitable for evaluating large numbers of patients. For this reason, numerous noninvasive tests utilizing plethysmographic and Doppler techniques have been developed to evaluate patients with suspected venous disease, and when expertly performed have a degree of accuracy of approximately 90%. This degree of accuracy coincides with the experience of our peripheral vascular laboratory using the Doppler venous examination. Based on these statistics, our current practice is to evaluate patients suspected of having DVT with a Doppler venous examination (Figure 1). If the test is abnormal or equivocal, contrast venography is usually obtained and anticoagulation recommended. Contrariwise, if the Doppler venous examination is normal, venography is not obtained, and anticoagulation treatment is not recommended. This practice should reduce the number of venograms in a patient population that is not at an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or repeated deep venous thrombosis. To evaluate the validity and safety of this practice, one hundred eighty-six patients with normal Doppler venous examinations in whom contrast venography was not obtained were evaluated and form the basis of this report.


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