The value of hemodynamic measurements by air plethysmography in diagnosing venous obstruction of the lower limb

Ralph L. M. Kurstjens*, Mark A. F. de Wolf, Sarah A. Alsadah, Carsten W. K. P. Arnoldussen, Rob H. W. Strijkers, Irwin M. Toonder, Cees H. A. Wittens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Air plethysmography (APG) is a functional, noninvasive test that can assess volumetric changes in the lower limb and might therefore be used as a diagnostic tool in chronic deep venous disease. However, use of APG in chronic deep venous obstructive disease remains debatable. This study assessed the clinical value of APG in identifying chronic deep venous obstruction. Methods: All patients referred to our tertiary, outpatient clinic between January 2011 and August 2013 with chronic venous complaints and suspected outflow obstruction underwent an outflow fraction (OF), ejection fraction (EF), and residual volume fraction (RVF) test using APG. Duplex ultrasound and magnetic resonance venography were used to establish whether and where obstruction was present. Diagnostic values of these tests were assessed for obstructions at different levels of the deep venous system. Results: A total of 312 limbs in 248 patients were tested. Mean age was 45.5 +/- 14.0 years, and 62.5% were female. In post thrombotic disease, specificity and positive predictive value for OF were as high as 98.4% and 95.0%, respectively; however, sensitivity was 34.8% and negative predictive value was 29.6%, with no clinically relevant positive or negative likelihood ratios. No clinically relevant differences were observed in stratifying for level of obstruction. EF and RVF were as inconclusive. Neither could these parameters be used in diagnosing nonthrombotic iliac vein compression. Conclusions: We found a poor correlation between OF, EF, or RVF, determined by APG, and the presence of chronic deep venous obstruction. Therefore, use of its relative parameters is unwarranted in daily clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-319
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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