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International Angiology 2015 February;34(1):60-6

Copyright © 2015 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Quality assurance of lower limb venous duplex scans performed by vascular surgeons

Kordowicz A. 1, Ferguson G. 1, Salaman R. 2, Onwudike M. 1

1 Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Bolton Hospital, Bolton, UK; 2 Department of Vascular Surgery, Royal Blackburn


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AIM: Duplex scanning is the gold standard for investigating venous reflux; increasingly surgeons perform these scans themselves. There has been no data published analysing the accuracy of Duplex scans performed by vascular surgeons. We aimed to evaluate an objective method of comparing the results of lower limb Duplex scans performed by one consultant vascular surgeon with those performed by a vascular technologist.
METHODS: We assessed 100 legs with symptomatic varicose veins. Each patient underwent two lower limb venous Duplex scans; one performed by a consultant vascular surgeon and one by a vascular technologist. Scan results were randomised and sent to two consultant vascular surgeons blinded to the identity and experience of the sonographer. They were asked to recommend treatment. A k score was calculated in each case to assess the level of agreement between the scans performed by the consultant and the technologist.
RESULTS: Eighty-one patients were studied (53 females). The kappa score for assessor 1 was 0.60 (95%CI:0.44-0.75) and for assessor 2 was 0.62 (95%CI:0.48-0.75). k scores >0.60 represent a substantial strength of agreement.
CONCLUSION: Duplex scans performed by this surgeon were comparable to those performed by a vascular technologist. It is possible to quality-assure duplex performed by vascular surgeons without directly observing the scanning process or reviewing digitally recorded images. We propose standardisation of training, assessment and quality assurance for vascular surgeons wishing to perform ultrasound scans.

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