Purpose: This review examines the many techniques that have been used for the non-invasive diagnosis of acute and chronic venous disease and was conducted by members of the Committee on Research of the American Venous Forum. It proposes to identify those techniques with the greatest clinical potential, to suggest algorithms for the clinical application of non-invasive techniques in the identification of acute deep venous thrombosis and chronic venous insufficiency, and to identify areas of deficient knowledge and potential areas for future research initiatives. Methods: Review of pertinent clinical and research material. Results: Impedance plethysmography and ultrasonic imaging are the primary non-invasive tools used in the diagnosis of acute deep venous thrombosis. At present, ultrasonic imaging techniques are recommended on the basis of greater diagnostic accuracy in recent comparative clinical trials. Data would suggest that serial evaluation should probably be viewed as the preferred option for symptomatic patients with a negative initial examination and the presence of risk factors or physical findings suggesting a proximal deep venous obstruction/thrombosis. Chronic venous disease is the result of valvular incompetence, with or without associated venous obstruction. Duplex imaging can be used to determine the location and extent of reflux; however, there are reported procedural variations in the performance and interpretation of such studies. Recent innovations in air plethysmography may provide a means of quantifying volume changes, and permit an objective characterization of venous reflux and calf pump efficiency. Conclusions: There are still significant questions that need to be answered by well-designed research initiatives. Research applications that incorporate non-invasive diagnostic techniques may involve the diagnosis, treatment and natural history of acute deep venous obstruction/thrombosis and chronic venous insufficiency, assessment prior to and following venous reconstruction, and the basic science aspects of acute and chronic venous disease. At present, a lack of common standards is, by far, the greatest impediment to an organized research approach to venous disease.
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Deep venous thrombosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging