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Scan might rule out maternity DVT

Compression ultrasonography could help rule out pregnancy-related DVT

Louise Prime

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A single complete compression ultrasonography scan could be used to rule out deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in pregnant women and those who have recently given birth, research suggests. Authors of the study, published online today on, said the scan appeared safely to exclude suspected DVT, but further work is needed to confirm their findings.

Researchers studied 210 women – either pregnant or within three months post-partum – who had been referred from medical practices in France or Switzerland for investigation of suspected DVT. None were younger than 18 years, taking ongoing anticoagulant treatment, or suspected of having pulmonary embolism (PE).

Each of the women had a single compression ultrasound scan, and was then followed for three months. At this scan 22 (10.5%) of the women had a positive result for DVT and began anticoagulant treatment.

Of the remaining women who had tested negative, 177 did not have anticoagulation; two (1.1%) of these developed a confirmed DVT during follow-up. The authors said: “This result is in line with what was reported after a normal phlebography – the reference test – in non-pregnant patients.”

They conclude: “Our study shows that single complete compression ultrasonography might safely rule out the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis in pregnant and postpartum women. However, the limitations [of our study] … prevent us from drawing firm conclusions. Further investigations should aim at confirming these results and evaluating the use of compression ultrasonography in a sequential diagnostic strategy including assessment of clinical probability and D-dimer measurement.”

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