Vascular Surgeon Questions Deep Vein Thrombosis

How are blood clots in the veins diagnosed?

I have a family history of blood clots, and I recently read about a condition called deep vein thrombosis after researching possible causes of blood clotting in the body. How is this condition usually diagnosed?

12 Answers

Blood clots in the deep veins (most commonly the legs) can be diagnosed clinically with a good history and an ultrasound test, which is about 99% accurate and sensitive. The ultrasound is a noninvasive test that involves jelly on your leg (just like the jelly on the belly test pregnant women have) and allows us to see the superficial and deep veins of your leg and see if there is any obstruction (clot) in them. Your doctor may perform a blood test (called a d-dimer). If the d-dimer is negative (or normal), you do not have a deep vein blood clot.

KathyLee Santangelo, MD
The most common way is with an ultrasound of the veins done by an accredited facility.
By US/Venous Duplex study.
Usually with an ultrasound of your veins
With an ultrasound of the veins
The simple answer is that blood clots can easily be diagnosed by an ultrasound if they are suspected in the arms or legs. The usual symptoms of a blood clot in the veins are pain and swelling
Deep venous thrombus will resent with leg pain and swelling and diagnosed with an ultrasound.
They are usually diagnose by an ultrasound of the extremity involved
We call it venous duplex
By Ultrasound
Ultrasound is the manner to diagnose DVT. But it is only used in symptomatic patients.
How are blood clots in the veins diagnosed?

1) At autopsy by a medical examiner as an incidental finding or actual cause of death.

2) By signs and symptoms at home (leg pain, swelling, discoloration).

3) By sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, from pulmonary embolism (clots swimming from the legs to the lungs).

4) By sudden abdominal pain from thrombosis of the veins in the abdomen.

5) Confirmation of DVT by Duplex ultrasounds - the workhorse for DVT evolution! Limited in pelvis, chests, and abdomen!

IPG... older not used much
CT - venous study - Head, chest & abdomen
MRV - all areas of the body!

Subclinical DVT might be diagnosed incidentally during exams for other problems! A family history of DVT does not warrant prophylaxis unless put into a situation that promotes DVT.
Your doctor can best evaluate and advise for these risks.

Irwin M. Best, MD, MBA,FACS
Blood clots can be diagnosed by a Duplex Ultrasound exam performed by a Registered Vascular Technologist. A Duplex Ultrasound is a very accurate and painless test used to rule out presence of a life threatening deep vein thrombosis.