Superficial clots in lower leg should trigger DVT test

Patients with clots in superficial blood vessels of the lower leg should be assessed for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), researchers from the Medical University of Graz in Austria argue.

Dr Barbara Binder and colleagues discovered that one in four patients with superficial venous thromboembolism (SVT) has undetected DVT. Concomitant DVT is more common in those with SVT in the lower leg, they found.

The researchers evaluated 46 patients referred to an outpatient clinic with clinical signs of SVT.

Patients underwent colour-coded duplex sonography to confirm SVT and detect DVT, which was found in 11 of the patients (24 per cent).

Even though SVT is generally not a severe or life-threatening condition, patients with SVT in the lower leg should be assessed for DVT, the researchers argue. This is because any concomitant DVT or pulmonary embolism could lead to severe complications, they said.

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