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Disease Information : DVT : Diagnosis

DVT : Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A suspicion of DVT is raised after a clinical exam and by identifying the associated risk factors, but a definite diagnosis of DVT (enough to guide treatment) cannot be accurately made without additional testing.

An ultrasound scan of the legs is usually ordered, because it is highly accurate, non-invasive, and relatively painless. During the ultrasound scan, any blood clots in the vein are displayed on a monitor. A specific blood test may be performed to measure "D-dimer" as a sign of recent clotting. When this test is negative, it is very unlikely that you may have suffered a DVT.

However, even with these excellent tests, there are occasions requiring more accurate information for a diagnosis. A venogram or phlebogram, a test in which dye is injected into a vein in the foot and an x-ray is taken, might be performed to more clearly view the blood flow within the leg veins. Phlebograms are rarely ordered today, but are helpful when DVT is severe and clot dissolving therapies or surgical therapies may need to be considered.

Deep Vein Thrombosis section was last modified: March 26, 2010 - 11:53 am