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Approach to the diagnosis and therapy of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis

Kenneth A Bauer, MD
Section Editors
Lawrence LK Leung, MD
Jess Mandel, MD
Deputy Editor
Geraldine Finlay, MD


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and acute pulmonary embolism (PE) are two manifestations of the same disorder, venous thromboembolism (VTE). DVT of the lower extremity is subdivided into two categories:

Distal (calf) vein thrombosis, in which thrombi remain confined to the deep calf veins

Proximal vein thrombosis, in which thrombosis involves the popliteal, femoral, or iliac veins

Proximal vein thrombosis is of greater importance clinically, since it is more commonly associated with the development of pulmonary emboli. (See "Overview of the treatment of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT)", section on 'Introduction'.)

There are a number of questions that arise when a patient is suspected of having deep vein thrombosis (DVT) of the lower extremity. These include:


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Literature review current through: Jan 2017. | This topic last updated: Tue Jul 15 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2014.
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