Diagnosis of suspected venous thromboembolic disease in pregnancy.
Scarsbrook AF., Evans AL., Owen AR., Gleeson FV.
Venous thromboembolic disease is a leading cause of maternal mortality during pregnancy. Early and accurate radiological diagnosis is essential as anticoagulation is not without risk and clinical diagnosis is unreliable. Although the disorder is potentially treatable, unnecessary treatment should be avoided. Most of the diagnostic imaging techniques involve ionizing radiation which exposes both the mother and fetus to finite radiation risks. There is a relative lack of evidence in the literature to guide clinicians and radiologists on the most appropriate method of assessing this group of patients. This article will review the role of imaging of suspected venous thromboembolic disease in pregnant patients, highlight contentious issues such as radiation risk, intravenous contrast use in pregnancy and discuss the published guidelines, as well as suggesting an appropriate imaging algorithm based on the available evidence.