Color Doppler ultrasound imaging of lower-extremity venous disease

W D Foley, W D Middleton, T L Lawson, S Erickson, F A Quiroz, S Macrander
AJR. American Journal of Roentgenology 1989, 152 (2): 371-6
A color Doppler ultrasound imaging device was used to evaluate 475 patients with suspected lower-extremity venous thrombosis. Occlusive and nonocclusive femoral and popliteal thrombi were detected in 200 studies (42%). In phase 1 of the study (240 examinations), peripheral augmentation with the use of periodic calf compression was required to show color flow throughout the femoropopliteal venous segment. In phase 2 (235 examinations), with a software upgrade to enhance detectability of slow flow, spontaneous flow could be appreciated in the normal, partly thrombosed, and recanalized femoral popliteal veins without augmentation. Augmentation was often necessary to view tibioperoneal veins. Of the total study group, conventional venography was performed for correlation in 47 patients. In the other patients, clinicians relied on the color Doppler test for the definitive diagnosis of the presence or absence of femoral popliteal venous thrombosis and treated these patients on the basis of the color Doppler test result. In the femoral veins, color Doppler studies and venography agreed in all 12 positive and 35 negative cases. In the popliteal veins, there was agreement in five isolated popliteal thromboses and in 10 femoral popliteal thromboses; there were two false-negative color Doppler studies of isolated popliteal thromboses. In four patients, Doppler studies detected nonocclusive thrombus not evident on venography. Color Doppler imaging is easy to perform and does not require augmentation to view color flow in the femoropopliteal venous segment. Eccentric thrombus and partially canalized thrombus can be shown. Initial experience suggests color Doppler imaging may be useful in the detection of tibioperoneal venous thrombosis.

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