Duplex ultrasound in the hemodynamic evaluation of the late sequelae of deep venous thrombosis

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The use of duplex ultrasound scanning to evaluate the hemodynamic outcome of deep venous thrombosis 7 to 13 years after the original diagnosis.


Duplex ultrasound was used to re-examine 1212 segments of vein from 72 patients (49 men, 23 women) with deep venous thrombosis previously diagnosed by means of phlebography to detect reflux and obstruction and evaluate flow; 611 segments were initially thrombosed and 601 segments were open. To define reflux, reversed flow in 31 healthy persons was measured.


In a review of all veins of the 72 patients, 8 patients (11%) had completely normal duplex results in all veins, 33 (46%) had reflux, 6 (8%) had at least one noncompressible vein segment, and 25 (35%) had a combination of both. In the proximal vein segments without initial thrombosis a higher percentage was normal (73%) than in segments with initial thrombosis (46%). There was a significantly higher frequency of reflux (46%, p = 0.05) and noncompressibility (12%, p < 0.01) in initially thrombosed proximal vein segments than in vein segments without initial thrombosis (reflux 25%, non-compressibility 3%). Distal to the knee 125 (17%) of 720 vein segments were not traceable. Significantly more initially thrombosed vein segments were not traceable (p < 0.01). In distal vein segments there was no significant difference in reflux (7% versus 5%) and noncompressibility (10% versus 5%) between vein segments with and without initial thrombosis. Flow was present in 99% of the 611 previously thrombosed proximal and distal segments.


Most patients with deep venous thrombosis still had venous abnormalities 7 to 13 years after the initial diagnosis. The most common abnormality was reflux. Significantly more abnormalities were found in initially thrombosed segments. The abnormalities were found in the proximal vein segments and in the distal vein segments, although less frequently in the latter.

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