Vascular Specialists Tyler Texas
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Non-Invasive Venous Evaluation for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Deep venous thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in a vein. A blood clot (thrombus) in the deep venous system of the leg is not dangerous in itself. The situation becomes life-threatening when a piece of the blood clot breaks off, travels downstream through the heart into the pulmonary circulation system, and becomes lodged in the lung. Diagnosis and treatment of a deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is meant to prevent pulmonary embolism.

Veins don't have a significant muscle lining, and there is nothing pumping blood back to the heart except physiology. Blood returns to the heart because the body's large muscles squeeze the veins as they contract in their normal activity of moving the body. The normal activities of moving the body returns the blood back to the heart. There are two types of veins in the leg; superficial veins and deep veins. Superficial veins lie just below the skin and are easily seen on the surface. Deep veins, as their name implies, are located deep within the muscles of the leg. Blood flows from the superficial veins into the deep venous system through small perforator veins. Superficial and perforator veins have one-way valves within them that allow blood to flow only in the direction of the heart when the veins are squeezed.

What is a venous duplex examination?

A venous duplex is a type of vascular ultrasound study done to assess the deep veins of the legs. The veins will be evaluated for thrombus. Vascular studies are a noninvasive (the skin is not pierced) procedure used to assess the blood flow in the veins. Ultrasound creates an image of the veins and Doppler demonstrates the characteristics of the blood flow through the veins. You will be able to hear the Doppler portion of the study. Gel will be placed on your skin to conduct the sound waves from the transducer.

What are the indications or symptoms for a venous duplex examination?

A number of factors can contribute to risk of DVT, these include:

  • Prior DVT or clotting disorders
  • Trauma
  • Recent major surgery
  • Medical problems, such as cancer and blood disease
  • Immobilization
  • Obesity

Symptoms of DVT:

  • Limb swelling
  • Pain/tenderness
  • Changes in skin color (redness) and warm to the touch
  • Acute shortness of breath (if a portion of clot has traveled to lungs)

 What can I expect during the exam?

A complete examination of both extremities takes approximately 20 to 40 minutes.  It is performed in a darkened room lying on an exam table. A technologist will perform the test by taking images of the veins using the ultrasound equipment.  A transducer is placed on the extremity with a small amount of water soluble ultrasound gel. 

Patient Instructions

  • Allow 20 minutes for one arm or leg duplex study
  • Allow an additional 20 minutes for each additional extremity.
  • Please wear loose collar or button up shirt with short sleeves if your arms are to be examined.
  • For leg studies, you will remove your pants, socks & shoes.
  • No additional preparation is necessary for this study

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (903) 533-8702.

Vascular Specialists of East Texas