Pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) represent two manifestations of the same syndrome, venous thromboembolism. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) angiography is a practical, efficient alternative to conventional imaging for PE. Following the pulmonary examination, the inferior vena cava (IVC) and the iliac, femoral, and popliteal veins can be studied with CT without additional intravenous contrast administration. Indirect CT venography (CTV) after CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) simplifies and shortens venous thromboembolism work-up. Initial studies indicate that CTV is comparable to ultrasound in the evaluation of femoral/popliteal DVT. CTV has the advantage of evaluating the iliac veins and inferior vena cava, vessels poorly seen on sonography and venography. Combining CTV with CTPA increases confidence in withholding treatment when results for both the pulmonary arteries and leg veins are negative and increases the diagnosis of venous thromboembolism by 25% over CTPA alone. This pictorial essay will review the normal venous anatomy, CTV technique, and the findings of acute and chronic DVT. Interpretive pitfalls and alternative diagnoses are also reviewed.
From the Department of Radiology (C.C., L.R.G., L.W., F.A.Q.), Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Milwaukee, WI; Istituto di Scienze Radiologiche (C.C.), Universitá di Chieti, Ospedale S. S. Anunziata, Chieti, Italy.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Lawrence R. Goodman, M.D., F.A.C.R., Department of Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226–3596; E-mail: Igoodman@mcw.edu