Practice variation in the management of distal deep vein thrombosis in primary vs. secondary cares: A clinical practice survey

Thromb Res. 2015 Sep;136(3):526-30. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2015.06.013. Epub 2015 Jun 12.


Introduction: Distal deep-vein thromboses (iDDVT) are infra-popliteal DVTs. They are as frequent but less serious than proximal DVT. Their management is debated.

Methods: Clinical practice survey among a random selection of 111 general practitioners (GP) and 56 vascular medicine physicians (VMP) working in Languedoc-Roussillon (France) to assess and compare iDDVTs management by GP and VMP.

Results: In case of DVT, GP manage their patients alone in 35% of cases. In case of collaborative management, VMP initiate and stop anticoagulants (>74% of cases) whereas GP monitor anticoagulation (>76% of cases). With iDDVT, there was no difference between GP and VMP in terms of use (94% vs. 92%) and intensity of anticoagulation (full dose: 99%vs.100%). Duration of anticoagulation differed: GP modulated less frequently duration of anticoagulation in presence of a transient risk factor (58% vs. 90%, p<0.05) or according to the deep-calf or muscular location of iDDVT (6% vs. 36%, p<0.05) and treated more frequently iDDVT as long as proximal DVT (49% vs. 13%, p<0.05). When comparing GP, there was no significant difference in terms of therapeutic management between those who used to manage DVT alone and those who used to manage in collaboration with a thrombosis expert.

Conclusion: Treatment of iDDVT differed between GP and VMP. Half of GP don't modulate treatment according to anatomical location or to the provoked/unprovoked character of DVT. Given the low frequency of exposure to DVT in general practice, systematic referral to a thrombosis expert rather than continuous medical formation program seems appropriate to improve management.

Keywords: DVT; ambulatory care; anticoagulation; clinical practice survey.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage*
  • Cardiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians, Primary Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Secondary Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Venous Thrombosis / therapy*


  • Anticoagulants