JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Superficial venous thrombosis and compression ultrasound imaging

Isabelle Quéré, Alain Leizorovicz, Jean-Philippe Galanaud, Emilie Presles, Marie-Thérèse Barrellier, François Becker, Gilles Desprairies, Hervé Guenneguez, Patrick Mismetti, Hervé Décousus
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2012, 56 (4): 1032-8.e1
22832262

BACKGROUND: A current debate concerning suspected superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) focuses on the need of performing a compression ultrasound (CUS) exploration for confirming the diagnosis of SVT. This study was conducted to determine the clinical relevance and optimal CUS exploration in patients with symptomatic SVT.

METHODS: We analyzed the characteristics of SVT and concomitant deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients included in the Prospective Observational Superficial Thrombophlebitis (POST) multicenter, observational prospective study. All patients underwent complete bilateral lower limb CUS, exploring both the superficial and deep venous systems.

RESULTS: A total of 844 patients with clinical symptoms of SVT were recruited, of which 99 isolated SVTs (21.4%) had saphenofemoral/popliteal junction involvement, and 198 (23.5%) had a concomitant DVT, with 41.8% of them proximal DVTs. In 83 patients (41.9%), DVT and SVT were not contiguous. Five of 639 patients (1%) had an isolated contralateral DVT (ie, not bilateral). Age ≥ 75 years (odds ratio [OR], 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6-3.4), inpatient status (OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 3.4-8.7), a personal history of DVT or pulmonary embolism (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.8), and SVT on nonvaricose veins (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 2.1-5.0) were significantly and independently associated with an increased risk of concomitant DVT. Half of the patients exhibited none of these risk factors, and the prevalence of concomitant DVT dropped to 11%.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with symptomatic SVT, a CUS exploration screening the whole venous system of the affected limb is useful because it provides information that has important consequences for the management of these patients.

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