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Vasc Endovascular Surg. 2002 Sep-Oct;36(5):367-75.

A survey of physicians' knowledge and management of venous thromboembolism.

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  • 1Department of Biobehavioral Nursing, University of Washington School of Nursing and School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.


A review of all patients diagnosed with venous thromboembolism (VTE) at an academic medical center from 1996 to 1998 revealed a wide variation in management and subsequent patient outcomes and a 30% increase in utilization of the vascular laboratory from the previous 2-year period. The purpose of this study was to determine physicians' knowledge and management strategies before the implementation of integrated care pathways for VTE. Mail surveys were sent to 650 physicians covering 3 academic medical centers. The disciplines targeted were from those physicians who had previously referred patients for any VTE screening examination. One-hundred and twenty-eight physicians (20%) completed the survey. Only 12% of the physicians were able to correctly identify all of the veins routinely imaged as either deep or superficial veins. Fifty-nine percent of the physicians incorrectly identified the superficial femoral vein of the thigh as a superficial vein, and 23% believed the popliteal vein to be a superficial vein. Only 17% of the respondents correctly classified the tibial-peroneal veins as deep veins. Approximately 70% of the physicians stated that they would not treat symptomatic isolated calf vein thrombosis, and, of those, only 42% said that they would obtain serial duplex scans to monitor for proximal propagation. Physicians underestimated the charges for all diagnostic screening tests, and only 14% were able to correctly identify the range of charges for a venous duplex scan. This survey of physicians demonstrated a lack of basic knowledge regarding lower extremity venous anatomy, charges for the different diagnostic tests used to diagnose VTE, and, most importantly, current treatment standards for VTE.

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