A distal deep vein thrombosis is generally believed to be clinically unimportant because of a low incidence of pulmonary emboli. To the author's knowledge, a symptomatic pulmonary embolism has not been reported in association with an isolated calf deep vein thrombosis in a plastic surgery outpatient. This case report provides the clinical details of a pulmonary embolism occurring after routine ultrasound detection of a distal deep vein thrombosis. Proximal deep venous thromboses originate in the calf and are dangerous because they frequently embolize. Ultrasound surveillance provides early detection of subclinical distal deep vein thromboses. Anticoagulation is initiated, suppressing propagation of the thrombosis to the deep veins of the thigh, and reducing the risk of a catastrophic pulmonary embolism.
Copyright © 2020 The Author. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.