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Duplex ultrasound: Indications and findings in a newly created facility at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar

A Ikpeme
A Akintomide
O Ukweh
S Effanga


Background: Peripheral limb vascular diseases form one of the most common diseases that affect the middle‑aged and the elderly. Duplex ultrasound has revolutionized medicare and is an important modality for investigating them. Unfortunately, this modality is still not popular in our environment and in Calabar was used for the 1st time 4 years ago. This work is, therefore, to report our findings and hopefully increase the awareness of its benefits thereby improving and hastening the diagnosis of vascular pathologies in our environment.

Methods: A prospective study that took place in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar between March 2011 and August 2014. The study included patients with pain, swelling, ulceration, as well as outright gangrene of the upper or lower limbs. Others were stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients, and patients with renal grafts. The scans were carried out in Radiology Department using a digital color Doppler ultrasound.

Results: Seventy‑six patients were scanned during this period. They were more males (67%) than females (33%). The indications were mainly leg swelling and pain 25 (33%), stroke/TIA 10 (13%), and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) 10 (13%) The most common scan done was peripheral limb Doppler, 49 (64.5%).The majority of the scans showed no abnormality followed by chronic venous insufficiency 13 (17.1%) and lower limb arteriosclerosis 7 (9.2%) which was noted to be common among diabetics and hypertensive. DVT was another common finding and 4 out of 10 patients in whom DVT was suspected clinically showed sonographic evidence of the condition.

Conclusion: Duplex ultrasound has been shown to diagnose varied vascular pathologies even in a locale where it is a relatively new technique. It is recommended that timely referrals be made, and mobile Doppler units be acquired to save more lives and limbs in the developing world.

Keywords: Calabar, deep venous thrombosis, duplex ultrasound, peripheral lower limbs