Venous thromboembolic disease is one of the most common and preventable causes of death for hospitalized patients. The disease represents the combination of acute deep vein thrombosis with pulmonary embolism. Most pulmonary emboli originate in the lower extremity veins, and duplex imaging is a rapid means to help determine its presence. This application of sonography is an accurate and effective method to assist diagnosing patients with deep vein thrombosis. As with learning any ultrasound technique, the first step is to understand the disease process, normal venous anatomy, and proper examination techniques. This article will present an overview of the components needed for evaluation of the lower extremities to determine the presence or absence of deep vein thrombosis, which helps the clinician diagnose venous thromboembolic disease.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Understand the venous thromboembolic disease process.
- Distinguish the lower extremity venous anatomy evaluated by duplex ultrasound.
- Appreciate the 2 major components to a venous duplex examination.
- Recognize interpretation criteria of a lower extremity venous duplex examination.