Noninvasive diagnosis of clinically suspected deep venous thrombosis1

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One hundred ten patients with clinically suspected deep venous thrombosis (DVT) were investigated by both venography and non-invasive testing (segmental air plethysmography and Doppler ultrasonography). The noninvasive tests were normal in all limbs that were normal by venography. The tests detected proximal venous thrombi (popliteal, femoral, or iliac) in 47 of the 50 limbs (94%) with venographically documented thrombi, but in only six of 16 limbs (37%) with calf DVT. Severe extrinsic compression could not be distinguished from acute DVT, but remote DVT usually could be distinguished from acute DVT. An abnormal noninvasive test is a useful finding on which therapeutic decisions can be based. A negative noninvasive test will not exclude calf vein thrombi or nonocclusive proximal vein thrombi.



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