Blood Home > Deep Vein Thrombosis Diagnosis

To make a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis, your doctor may take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and order certain tests. The most common tests that are used to diagnose this condition include duplex ultrasound and venography. Less common tests that your doctor may use for diagnosis include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, and genetic testing.

An Introduction to Deep Vein Thrombosis Diagnosis

In order to make a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) diagnosis, your doctor will need to ask about your medical history and perform an examination. Your doctor may also order certain tests to make a deep vein thrombosis diagnosis.
 

Common Tests Used to Diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis

Common tests used to diagnose a DVT include:
 
  • Duplex ultrasound
  • Venography.
 
Duplex Ultrasound
A duplex ultrasound is the most common test used to diagnose a deep vein thrombosis. This test uses sound waves to evaluate the flow of blood in your veins. This test involves the following steps:
 
  • A gel is put on the skin of the leg.
  • A handheld device is placed on the leg and passed back and forth over the affected area.
  • This device sends sound waves from the leg to an ultrasound machine.
  • A computer then turns the sounds into a picture.
  • The picture is displayed on a TV screen. On this screen, your doctor can see the blood flow in your leg.
 
Venography
A venography may be performed if the duplex ultrasound does not provide a clear diagnosis. A venogram is an x-ray that examines veins. This test involves the following steps:
 
  • A dye is injected into a vein. Then an x-ray is taken of the leg.
  • The dye makes the vein visible on the x-ray.
  • If the blood flow in the vein is slowed, it will show on the x-ray.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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