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Br J Radiol. 1992 Apr;65(772):306-8.

Impedance plethysmography and thrombo-embolic disease.

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Department of Radiology, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK.


This study compares the results of impedance plethysmography with lower limb venography in 68 patients referred for investigation of clinical deep vein thrombosis, and with the results of ventilation/perfusion isotope scans in 125 patients with suspected pulmonary embolism. Impedance plethysmography had a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 61% for the detection of thromboses involving popliteal or more proximal veins (30 patients), but a sensitivity of 90% and a specificity of 68% in the detection of thrombosis at any level, because of a low sensitivity in the detection of isolated calf vein thrombosis (60% in 10 patients). It is a non-invasive, portable and low-cost technique and, in centres where anticoagulation is only given to patients with popliteal or more proximal thrombosis, venography may only be necessary if impedance plethysmography is positive. It may also be of value in the assessment of patients with suspected pulmonary embolic disease and an indeterminate ventilation/perfusion lung scan.

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