[Diagnostic value of the clinical probability score of deep venous thrombosis in the elderly]

D Tiganas, R Durant, F Raschilas, H Blain, F Tigoulet, N Mitermite, P Hemmi, C Jeandel
La Revue de Médecine Interne 2005, 26 (12): 931-7

SUBJECT: There is a lack of scientific data concerning the incidence, clinical signs, risk factors and diagnostic management of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the elderly.

METHODS: We carried out a prospective case-control study in a geriatric setting. We included one in-patient without clinical signs of deep vein thrombosis for each hospitalised patient with clinically suspected DVT. Clinical signs, risk factors of DVT and a compression ultrasonography of the proximal and distal leg veins were performed in all patients at admission. Also, the clinical probability was assessed by means of the clinical score model described by Wells.

RESULTS: There were 102 patients aged over 85 included during the 5 months period of the study. Fifty-one patients have had a clinical suspicion of DVT and 51 patients were clinically asymptomatic. There were 43% symptomatic DVT and 12% asymptomatic DVT. Clinical signs and symptoms of DVT were neither sensitive nor specific. Risk factors associated most frequently with DVT were: immobilisation (prevalence 64%), paralysis of the legs (22%), varicose veins (25%), deshydratation (28,5%), infections (18%). A significant relationship between a risk factor and DVT was found only for immobilisation (P<0,05) and deshydratation (P<0,02). The prevalence of DVT increased with the clinical probability score: 11.4% for the low score, 27.6% for the moderate score and 55% for the high score.

CONCLUSION: Incidence of DVT is high among hospitalised elderly patients, especially for the asymptomatic ones. Clinical signs alone do not reliably predict DVT. Clinical probability score could be useful to improve diagnostic management of DVT in this population.

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