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Association Between Superficial Vein Thrombosis and Deep Vein Thrombosis of the Lower Extremities – Source: Archives of Dermatology, Jul 2009

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By Barbara Binder, MD, et al. • • July 22, 2009

Objective: To evaluate the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients with superficial vein thrombosis (SVT). [Note: superficial vein thrombosis is a clot that causes soreness and swelling in a vericose vein, usually in the calf. Deep vein thrombosis is a medical emergency. It involves formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein, usually in the leg or pelvis, that can dislodge and travel to the lungs, becoming a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.]

Design: A prospective study in patients with sonographically proven SVT.

Setting: Outpatient department of the Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz.

Patients: Forty-six consecutive patients with superficial vein thrombosis were enrolled.

Intervention: Every patient underwent color-coded duplex sonography of both lower extremities at the beginning of the study.

Main Outcome Measures: Important risk factors (eg, history of thromboembolic events, recent immobilization, active malignant disease, and the use of oral contraceptives) were investigated.

Results: In 24% of our patients, a concomitant, mostly asymptomatic DVT was found. In 73% of these patients, the DVT occurred in the affected leg, in 9% in the contralateral leg, and in 18% in both legs. The calf muscle veins were most commonly involved. In all patients with DVT, the SVT was located on the lower leg and the D-dimer findings were positive.

Conclusions: Superficial vein thrombosis is not a life-threatening disease, but the risk of concomitant DVT cannot be ignored. Color-coded duplex sonography should be performed in patients with SVT to rule out DVT.

Source: Archives of Dermatology, Jul 2009;145(7):753-757. PMID: 19620555, by Binder B, Lackner HK, Salmhofer W, Kroemer S, Custovic J, Hofmann-Wellenhof R. Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Graz; Institute of Medical Engineering, University of Technology, Graz, Austria. [E-mail:]

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