Impedance plethysmography using the occlusive cuff technique in the diagnosis of venous thrombosis.
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Impedance plethysmography using the cuff technique has been compared with venography in 346 consecutive patients with suspected venous thromboembolism. The limbs were classified according to the venographic results as no thrombosis, proximal (popliteal, femoral, or iliac) vein thrombosis, and calf thrombosis. A discriminant analysis was performed. The impedance plethysmographic result was normal in 386 of 397 limbs which were normal on venography, a specificity of 97%, and abnormal in 124 of 133 limbs which showed proximal vein thrombosis, a sensitivity of 93%. Seventy-three of 88 limbs with calf vein thrombi and a normal impedance plethysmographic result. The sensitivity in 29 limbs with asymptomatic proximal vein thrombosis was 83%. Impedance plethysmography is an accurate method for detecting proximal vein thrombosis but has limitations which include the possibility of false positive results due to arterial insufficiency and muscle tension.
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