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Very Low Yield for Imaging of Both Legs in Suspected DVT

For patients with suspected DVT, ultrasound imaging of both legs seems unjustified

Very Low Yield for Imaging of Both Legs in Suspected DVT

THURSDAY, Jan. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with clinically suspected deep vein thrombosis (DVT), systematic imaging of both legs has a very low yield, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

Grégoire Le Gal, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Ottawa in Canada, and colleagues examined the yield of bilateral leg ultrasonography in patients with suspected DVT in a retrospective cohort study. Data were obtained for 2,804 patients.

The researchers found that 21.8 percent of patients had a positive ultrasound. Overall, 0.8 percent of patients had a thrombus diagnosed in both the symptomatic and asymptomatic legs. Furthermore, 0.2 percent had a thrombus in the asymptomatic, but not in the symptomatic, leg. Of the 2,540 patients with unilateral symptoms, two patients (0.08 percent) had no proximal DVT in the symptomatic leg and a proximal DVT in the asymptomatic leg.

"In summary, systematic imaging of both legs in patients with suspected DVT has a very low yield and, therefore, does not appear to be justified," the authors write.

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