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November 1991

Impedance Plethysmography in the Diagnosis of Asymptomatic Deep Vein Thrombosis in Hip Surgery: A Venography-Controlled Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medical Semiotics (Drs Agnelli, Cosmi, Ranucci, and Nenci and Ms Renga), Department of Radiology (Drs Mosca and Lupattelli), and Department of Orthopedics (Drs Di Filippo and Rinonapoli), University of Perugia (Italy).

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(11):2167-2171. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400110031007

We prospectively evaluated the accuracy of computerized impedance plethysmography (CIP) in the diagnosis of asymptomatic deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in 246 consecutive high-risk patients scheduled for hip surgery, with bilateral venography used for comparison. The CIP was performed as a surveillance program every third day. If the CIP remained negative, bilateral venography was performed on postoperative day 10±1 or on day of treatment 14±1 in nonoperated-on patients. If the CIP became positive, venography was performed within 24 hours. The sensitivity and specificity of CIP for proximal and distal DVT were 19% (confidence interval [CI], 13% to 24%) and 91% (CI, 87% to 94%), respectively. The positive and negative predictive values were 52% (CI, 38% to 65%) and 70% (CI, 65% to 74%), respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of CIP for proximal DVT were 24% (CI, 13% to 34%) and 90% (CI, 87% to 94%), respectively; the positive and negative predictive values were 31% (CI, 20% to 51%) and 87% (CI, 83% to 90%), respectively. We conclude that, because of its low sensitivity, CIP cannot be used in the surveillance of DVT in high-risk patients or for outcome measurements in clinical trials on DVT prophylaxis.

(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:2167-2171)

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