Lower Extremity Duplex Ultrasound Screening Protocol for Moderate and High Risk Trauma Patients

Grace E. Martin, Amanda Pugh, Susan G. Williams, Dennis Hanseman, Vanessa Nomellini, Amy T. Makley, Timothy A. Pritts, Michael D. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) remains a significant cause of morbidity after injury. Lower extremity duplex ultrasound screening (LEDUS) is designed to identify early, asymptomatic DVTs in moderate and high risk patients. We sought to describe when thrombus is detected and identify which trauma patients benefit from LEDUS. Materials and methods: A retrospective review was conducted on trauma patients who were moderate or high risk for venous thromboembolism based on risk assessment profile (RAP) scoring. Patients with RAP scores ≥5 underwent LEDUS on hospital Day 4 and then weekly. We defined moderate venous thromboembolism risk as an RAP score of 5-9 and high risk as an RAP score of ≥10. Demographics, injury characteristics, and chemoprophylaxis type and timing were analyzed. Results: A total of 579 trauma patients underwent a total of 820 ultrasounds in 1 y. Eighty-eight acute DVTs were identified. There was only one progression of a below- to above-the-knee DVT. Patients with RAP scores ≥10 had significantly higher rates of DVTs compared with patients with lower RAP scores in addition to longer lengths of stay and time to DVT prophylaxis. Moderate- and high-risk patients had similar rates of pulmonary embolism. Two-thirds of all DVTs were diagnosed on the first screening examination. The rate of DVTs in patients with RAP scores 7-9 was 15.4% compared with 6.1% of those with RAP scores of 5-6. Conclusions: LEDUS allows for early identification of asymptomatic DVTs. Moderate-risk patients with RAP scores of ≥7 should be considered for LEDUS, given higher rates of DVT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-287
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Clot propagation
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Lower extremity duplex ultrasound screening
  • Venous thromboembolic event

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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