Resident-performed compression ultrasonography for the detection of proximal deep vein thrombosis: fast and accurate

Timothy Jang, Martin Docherty, Chandra Aubin, Greg Polites
Academic Emergency Medicine 2004, 11 (3): 319-22

OBJECTIVES: To assess whether emergency medicine residents (EMRs) could quickly perform accurate compression ultrasonography (CUS) for the detection of proximal lower extremity deep vein thromboses (PLEDVTs) with minimal training.

METHODS: A prospective, observational study using a convenience sample of patients presenting with signs and/or symptoms for PLEDVT. Vascular laboratory and department of radiology studies were considered the criterion standard. CUS of the femoral vessels was performed. Incompressibility or visualized thrombus was considered "positive."

RESULTS: Eight residents with limited ultrasound (US) experience and no prior experience with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) US volunteered to participate in this study, enrolling 72 patients. Their average scan time was 11.7 minutes (95% CI = 9.4 to 14). There were 23 true positives, 4 false positives, 45 true negatives, and 0 false negatives. The test characteristics for PLEDVT gave a sensitivity of 100% (95% CI = 82.2 to 100) and a specificity of 91.8% (95% CI = 79.5 to 97.4).

CONCLUSION: Emergency medicine residents with limited US experience were able to quickly perform CUS after minimal training for the detection of PLEDVT in a select group of patients.

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