Seventy-five patients with isolated calf vein thrombi were prospectively monitored with sequential duplex scans at 3- to 4-day intervals. Twenty-four patients (32%) propagated and 11 of these 24 (46%) into the popliteal or larger veins of the thigh. Sex, age, obesity, trauma, estrogen use, malignancy, varicose veins, smoking, surgery, and activity level were not predictive for proximal propagation. Proximal soleal vein thrombi had the highest incidence in both propagating and non-propagating groups. Thrombus extent and bilateral involvement were not predictive of propagation. Five percent (4 of 75 patients) had highly probable ventilation perfusion scans as their initial indication for duplex scanning. Deep vein thrombosis isolated to the calf is not a benign problem. If anticoagulant therapy is contraindicated, the progress of the thrombus can be followed by duplex scanning.