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Simpler Test May Be Best for Diagnosing Blood Clots in Leg
Date:10/7/2008

Compression ultrasound similar to more expensive whole-leg color ultrasound, study finds,,,,

TUESDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- An older, simpler test to look for blood clots in the leg -- called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT -- is as effective as a newer, more expensive test, new research says.

European researchers found that 2-point ultrasonography of the leg -- sometimes called compression or duplex ultrasound -- was as good at detecting DVT as the newer, whole-leg, color-coded doppler ultrasound test.

"In general, the 2-point approach is safe, reproducible, easy, fast and convenient; [the test] may be performed with any ultrasound machine by any physician with minimal training," said the study's lead author, Dr. Enrico Bernardi, head of the emergency department at Conegliano Hospital in Italy.

Bernardi and his colleagues reported their findings in the Oct. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The whole-leg scan, on the other hand, requires a specially trained physician and a special machine. Because of these requirements, the test isn't as widely available, according to Dr. C. Seth Landefeld, of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal.

DVT is a type of blood clot that forms in veins located deep within the body. Commonly, these clots occur in the legs. Certain factors increase your risk of DVT, including: traveling long distances, especially on an airplane; having a blood-clotting disorder; being pregnant; being overweight or obese; having a history of DVT; undergoing cancer treatment; and being older than 60, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The new study included 2,465 people being assessed for a possible DVT at 14 Italian hospitals.

The patients were randomly selected to receive either 2-point sonography or whole-leg sonography as part of thei
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