Serial compression B-scan and Doppler sonography for the screening of deep venous thrombosis in patients with spinal cord injuries

Alfried Germing, Mahmud Schakrouf, Michael Lindstaedt, Peter Grewe, Renate Meindl, Andreas Mügge
Journal of Clinical Ultrasound: JCU 2010, 38 (1): 17-20

PURPOSE: To evaluate the usefulness of serial compression B-scan and Doppler sonography (US) in screening for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) of the lower extremities in patients with spinal cord injuries.

METHOD: Patients with paraplegia and tetraplegia due to spinal cord injuries were screened by a serial compression B-scan and Doppler US protocol for DVT of the bilateral lower extremities within the first 36 hours after admission, at day 7 and at day 21. In patients with DVT, a follow-up US examination was performed 3 weeks after diagnosis to assess thrombi distribution.

RESULTS: Between January 2007 and March 2008, a total of 115 patients (75 males, 40 females), aged 19 to 85 years, were included. The first US examination documented a DVT in 44 cases (38.3%). After an initial negative scan, sonography after 7 days and 21 days showed DVT in 6 patients and 2 patients, respectively. Cumulative rate of DVT after the first 3 weeks was 45.2% (n=52). Follow-up US after 3 weeks in patients with DVT documented a complete recanalization in 19 patients (36.5%), no change in 12 patients (23.1%), and residual thrombi with partial recanalization in 21 patients (40.4%).

CONCLUSION: Our study supports the use of serial compression B-scan and Doppler US as a screening tool for DVT of the lower extremities in patients with spinal cord injuries early after injury.

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