Symptomatic deep vein thrombosis: diagnosis with limited compression US

Radiology. 1996 Jan;198(1):67-70. doi: 10.1148/radiology.198.1.8539408.


Purpose: To evaluate the utility of limited compression ultrasound (US) in the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Materials and methods: Positive sonograms (n = 160) in 155 symptomatic patients were reviewed retrospectively to assess the distribution of DVT. Fifty-three symptomatic patients underwent 56 limited US examinations of the common femoral and popliteal veins only, followed by traditional US of the entire venous system of the lower extremity from the inguinal ligament to the calf veins.

Results: Proximal vein thrombosis was seen in 146 cases (91%); the other 14 cases (9%) showed isolated calf vein thrombosis. In 145 cases (99%), either the common femoral or the popliteal vein was involved. Seven (12%) of 56 examinations showed the presence of thrombosis. Limited examination depicted each case of DVT that was detected with the complete examination, with an average decrease in examination time of 9.7 minutes, or 54%.

Conclusion: Limited compression US in patients with symptomatic DVT is a viable alternative to routine US; the examination time is decreased by greater than one-half.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Femoral Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Popliteal Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thrombophlebitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography