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How do we know who has had deep vein thrombosis?
  1. D. A. Sandler,
  2. J. R. Mitchell
  1. Department of Medicine, University Hospital, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.


    An attempt was made to identify all patients diagnosed as having deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in a large teaching hospital during one year. A review of the radiology records showed that 124 (81%) of the 154 venograms performed were for suspected DVT, and that the diagnosis was confirmed in 57 (46%). During the same period, the Hospital Activity Analysis (HAA) records revealed 174 episodes classified as 'phlebitis or thrombophlebitis' in 162 patients. Only 37 of these episodes (21%) had been confirmed by X-ray venography and at least 29 patients were incorrectly classified by HAA. 'Medical' patients accounted for 54% of the episodes of DVT, yet in only 25% of these was the diagnosis confirmed by venography, while 'surgical' DVTs were less frequent but were more often confirmed by venography.

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