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PCPs Perform Ultrasound for DVT Similarly to Vascular Experts

However, further training could improve general practitioners' sensitivity


MONDAY, Dec. 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Compared to vascular experts, general practitioners perform compression ultrasonography for diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) of the leg similarly well, according to a study published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Nicola Mumoli, M.D., from Ospedale Civile di Livorno in Italy, and colleagues compared bilateral proximal lower limb compression ultrasonography performed by general practitioners and by physicians with expertise in vascular ultrasonography among a group of 1,107 consecutive outpatients with suspected DVT.

The researchers found that the expert physicians diagnosed DVT in 200 patients, for an overall prevalence of 18.1 percent. There was excellent agreement between the trained general practitioners and the experts. For compression ultrasonography performed by general practitioners, the sensitivity was 90.0 percent and the specificity was 97.1 percent, with a diagnostic accuracy for DVT of 95.8 percent.

"Our results suggest that, even in hands of physicians not expert in vascular ultrasonography, compression ultrasonography can be a reliable tool in the diagnosis of DVT," the authors write. "We found that the sensitivity achieved by general practitioners appeared suboptimal, however, so future studies should evaluate the implementation of proper training strategies to maximize skill."

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