There are lots of risk factors for DVT and there are things you can do to minimise the risk. Usually, when a DVT is suspected, patients are asked a number of questions about the circumstances surrounding their symptoms (e.g., length of time and nature of symptoms) to assess their risk of having a clot. At the same time, you may have some blood taken for a test (called a D-dimer test) that looks for chemical evidence of clots in your blood.

Ultrasound can be used to assess the veins in your leg (in rare cases also the arm) and determine whether you have a DVT. These tests are reliable but if there is any doubt with your scan then it may be suggested to have a repeat ultrasound scan after seven days.

What is superficial thrombophlebitis?

When blood clots form in the superficial veins, which lie just under your skin, the condition is known as superficial thrombophlebitis. These superficial blood clots are different to DVT and are much less serious, although they can occasionally spread to deep veins.

What will Happen?

  • You may eat and drink as usual prior to the test and you do not need to remove your hearing aid or glasses.
  • You will be asked to keep your underwear on but you will need to remove trousers, tights, stockings shoes and socks so we can access the skin from your groin to the ankle.
  • You will most likely be asked to stand on a platform for the scan but occasionally we may ask you to lay on your back on a bed so we can scan the veins deep in your tummy.
  • A water-based gel, which may feel cold, and a probe will be placed onto your leg (see above image).
  • Images will appear on the screen of your blood vessels, similar to the picture above. You may hear some noises from the machine but this is perfectly routine.
  • At certain points in the scan, we may press into your leg or squeeze it to get the blood moving. We may also ask you to cough or perform a small breathing test. All of this will be carefully explained too you during your scan by the vascular scientist.
  • A clinical vascular scientist (who might be male or female) will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan.
  • Some people experience dizziness or feel faint during the examination. This is a normal response and can be relieved by lying flat. Please inform the scientist if you experience these symptoms during your visit.