Diagnosing deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

DVT affects 1 in 1000 patients, and is a huge burden on all front-line physicians, both in emergency departments and in primary care.1 It is found in 10–25% of patients in whom it is suspected.

The diagnosis of proximal DVT is key in preventing pulmonary embolism and post-thrombotic syndrome.

Focused ultrasound is performed using 3-point compression in those areas of highest turbulence and at greatest risk of developing thrombus:

  1. Common femoral vein at the saphenous vein
  2. Proximal deep and superficial femoral veins
  3. Popliteal veins

A recent meta-analysis of 16 studies of emergency physician-performed ultrasonography in the diagnosis of DVT has shown a weighted mean sensitivity of 96% and weighted mean specificity of 97%.2

CPD Module - 1 CPD hour

Scanning for Deep Vein Thrombosis

This module includes a key questions podcast and demonstration video covering the essentials needed to carry out point-of-care scanning for suspected deep vein thrombosis.

Workshop webcasts

The deep vein thrombosis 3-point ultrasound scan: why is it performed, and how do we do it?

Dr Paramjeet Deol, Consultant Emergency Physician at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London

1. Birdwell BG, et al. Ann Intern Med 1998;128:1-7. 2. Pomero F, et al. Thromb Haemost 2013;109:137-45