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Three Ways to Diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis in Buffalo Niagara and Southern Ontario - Vein Treatment Center and
Friday, August 9, 2013



There are three modalities that are used to diagnose deep vein thrombosis.  The diagnostic method used should be determined by board certified physicians and depends on the acuity of clinical presentation.


1. Duplex ultrasound.  This is a combination of ultrasound and Doppler and therefore the word Duplex technology is used to describe the combination of these two diagnostic modalities.  They are used to assess blood flow in the venous system.  The ultrasound waves travel through tissue and back to the transducer enabling the computer to transform this energy into a dynamic image.  Duplex ultrasound is the most popular method used for diagnosing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and should be available in most major hospitals or immediate care centers on a 24-hour basis.  Duplex ultrasonography is non-invasive and nearly painless and relatively easy to perform. It is highly sensitive in diagnosing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the upper and lower extremities.


2. Venography involves the injection of intravenous dye into a vein in the foot or ankle.  Upon injection, x-ray images are taken to reveal the location of clots or intraluminal defects in the veins which are indicative of superficial or deep vein clots (DVT).  Venography is one of the most accurate ways to identify deep vein thrombosis and is considered the “goal standard” way of diagnosing deep vein thrombosis.  Venography may be uncomfortable and painful and occasionally may cause phlebitis which is inflammation of the veins in the superficial system such as in the foot or leg.  An anaphylactic reaction can also occur following injection of intravenous dye during this procedure.  Because this procedure is an invasive procedure, venography is no longer used routinely to diagnose deep vein thrombosis.


 3. Magnetic resonance imaging or magnetic resonance venography (MRV) uses a strong magnet to create high quality images of the body’s internal structures. MRV is very effective in diagnosing deep vein thrombosis especially in the thigh and pelvic areas.  It is extensive and is only used in special circumstances when conditions such as thrombosis involving the vena cava or the iliac veins or the femoral veins are suspected.  It is not used in the acute situation, i.e. when a patient presents to the emergency room with a swollen lower extremity or upper extremity.


For more information about deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in Buffalo Niagara and Southern Ontario, contact Hratch Karamanoukian, MD FACS at the Vein Treatment Center at 716-839-3638 or go to


If you suspect deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the acute setting, call 911 or go to the emergency room for immediate evaluation with a duplex ultrasound study or call your primary care physician. and are partners with



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