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Thromb Haemost. 2000 Dec;84(6):973-6.

Compression ultrasonography of the leg veins in patients with clinically suspected pulmonary embolism: is a more extensive assessment of compressibility useful?

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Department of Internal Medicine, Slotervaart Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We performed a multi-center study in consecutive patients with suspected pulmonary embolism to compare the diagnostic accuracy of a two-point compression ultrasonography (only the common femoral vein and popliteal vein) with an extensive examination of compressibility (from the common femoral vein until the trifurcation of calf veins). A total of 479 patients underwent the two-point compression ultrasonography. The prevalence of pulmonary embolism was 32%. The sensitivity and specificity of this procedure were 23% (95% CI 19-26) and 98% (95% CI 96-99), respectively. Extensive compression ultrasonography was performed in 461 (96%) of these 479 patients and showed comparable accuracy indices (sensitivity 25%, 95% Cl 20-28 and specificity 97%, 95% CI 95-99). We conclude that compression ultrasonography has a limited sensitivity for the detection of thrombosis in patients with acute pulmonary embolism within 24 h of presentation. A more extensive assessment of compressibility of the leg veins in these patients has no additional value as compared to the two-point assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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