To evaluate the ability of color Doppler flow imaging (CDFI) to detect deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which is difficult to diagnose clinically, 67 limbs of 60 patients who presented with clinical signs strongly indicative of DVT during the period between June 1988 and June 1992, were examined. The iliac, common femoral, and superficial femoral veins were assessed with the patient in the supine position, and the popliteal vein was examined with the patient prone. Gentle but firm compression with the transducer probe was used to test for the presence of DVT. Ascending contrast venograms were also obtained within 24 h after the ultrasound procedure, with venography being used as the standard for comparison with CDFI. DVT was identified in 63 limbs by contrast venography and in 62 limbs by CDFI. The sensitivity and specificity of CDFI were 98.4% and 100%, respectively, while the positive and negative predictive values were 100% and 80%, respectively. The thromboses were classified into three patterns: the filling type, the local type, and mural thrombus, detected in 63%, 27%, and 10%, of the limbs respectively, with the filling type being the most common in this series. The results of our study illustrated that CDFI is highly sensitive and specific for detecting symptomatic DVT and that it should be gradually substituted for venography in such patients.
color Doppler flow imaging deep venous thrombosis venography