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Replacement of Venography in Suspected Venous Thrombosis by Impedance Plethysmography and 125I-Fibrinogen Leg Scanning: A Less Invasive Approach

RUSSELL HULL, M.B., B.S.; JACK HIRSH, M.D.; DAVID L. SACKETT, M.D., M.Sc.; D. WAYNE TAYLOR, M.A.; CEDRIC CARTER, M.B., B.S.; ALEXANDER G.G. TURPIE, M.B., B.S.; ARIEL ZIELINSKY, M.D.; PETER POWERS, M.D.; and MICHAEL GENT, M.Sc.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: from the province of Ontario and the Ontario and Canadian Heart Foundations.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Russell Hull, M.B.; Department of Medicine, Chedoke-McMaster Hospital, Room 3V39, 1200 Main Street West; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5.


Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


© 1981 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1981;94(1):12-15. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-94-1-12
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Noninvasive diagnostic testing is gaining acceptance in the evaluation of patients with clinically suspected venous thrombosis. Although clinically useful, all these tests have limitations, and the safety of basing therapeutic decisions on their outcome has not been assessed. We have done a prospective study of 322 symptomatic patients to ascertain the safety of replacing venography with impedance plethysmography and leg scanning. To provide a diagnostic reference, we did venography in all patients but withheld anticoagulants if the noninvasive tests were negative irrespective of the results of venography. None of the 163 patients with negative noninvasive tests died or developed clinical pulmonary embolism during 3 months' follow-up, confirming the safety of this approach. In two, clinically evident postvenographic venous thrombosis developed, confirmed by repetition of these objective tests. Also, the positive predictive values indicate that therapeutic decisions can be based on a positive noninvasive outcome in patients without clinical disorders known to produce false-positive results.

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