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Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

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Symptoms and Diagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

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Diagnosing DVT continued...

Duplex ultrasound. During this test, high-frequency sound waves bounce off the inside of your body, producing images of your blood vessels.

During this test, a radiologist spreads warm gel on your skin and then moves an ultrasound wand over the area. The wand sends sound waves into your body and then sends the echoing waves to a computer, which produces images of your vessels and sometimes the blood clots, as well.

Painless and noninvasive, ultrasound tests require no radiation but require a skilled person to obtain accurate results. This test is less sensitive in finding blood clots that are very deep inside the body, such as in the pelvis.

Venography. This test involves taking a special X-ray that allows your doctor to see the anatomy of your veins. Sometimes it also allows the doctor to see a clot, too. During the test, the doctor injects a radioactive dye into a vein on the top of your foot. This highlights the veins on the X-ray. Although accurate, this test carries a slight risk of increasing the chances of additional blood clots.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test uses radio frequency waves and a strong magnetic field to create detailed images of the inside of your body.

You lie still on a sliding table while the test takes place. Expect to hear loud tapping or knocking sounds. If needed, you may get a fluid injected into your vein to enhance the images of your blood vessels.

This imaging test is effective at finding DVT in the pelvis, as well as in the thigh. It also allows your doctor to examine both legs at once. However, MRI is much more expensive than other tests.

If you believe you have deep vein thrombosis symptoms, don't wait. Talk to you doctor about diagnostic tests right away.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on February 09, 2012
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