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February 14, 1996

Superficial Femoral Vein Thrombosis: A Potentially Confusing Term

Author Affiliations

Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center Portland, Ore

JAMA. 1996;275(6):444-445. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530300028026

To the Editor.  —Dr Bundens and colleagues1 have an important point regarding a possible communication pitfall in the diagnosis of lower-extremity deep venous thrombosis. However, I feel that their data indicate a conclusion different from that stated in their article's title.It is well known that language, including medical terminology, is subject to change over time (eg, no one now uses the term "gastroptosis"). Language is created and sustained by those who use it. As Bundens et al note, vascular surgeons and the directors of vascular laboratories term the venous segment between the popliteal vein and the inflow of the deep femoral vein the "superficial femoral vein." As the imaging and surgical specialists most concerned with this anatomical segment, they should be considered the "gold standard" for terminology. The erudite heads of departments of anatomy at US medical schools are often far removed from clinical practice and, therefore, could