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01.12.2015 | Original clinical investigation | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

Thrombosis Journal 1/2015

Analysis of the accuracy of the Wells scale in assessing the probability of lower limb deep vein thrombosis in primary care patients practice

Thrombosis Journal > Ausgabe 1/2015
Małgorzata Dybowska, Witold Z Tomkowski, Paweł Kuca, Rafał Ubysz, Adam Jóźwik, Dariusz Chmielewski
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing ineterests.

Authors’ contributions

MD study coordinated. WZT developed study protocol. PK study coordinated. RU ultrasound examination performed. AJ statistical analysis performed. DC study coordinated. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.



The clinical picture of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is nonspecific. Therefore assessment of the probability of occurrence of DVT plays a very important part in making a correct diagnosis of DVT.
The aim of our prospective study was to assess the accuracy of the Wells scale in primary care setting in diagnostic procedure of suspected deep vein thrombosis.


In the period of 20 - months (from 2007 to 2009) a group of residents from one of the urban districts of Warsaw, who reported to family doctors (22 primary care physicians were involved in the study) with symptoms of DVT were assessed on the probability of occurrence of deep vein thrombosis using the Wells scale. Family doctors were aware of symptoms of DVT and inclusion patients to this study was based on clinical suspicion of DVT.
Patients were divided into three groups, reflecting probability of DVT of the lower limbs.
To confirm DVT a compression ultrasound (CUS) test was established.
We analyzed the relationship between a qualitative variable and a variable defined on an original scale (incidence of DVT versus Wells scale count) using the Mann–Whitney test. Chi-square test compared rates of DVT events in all clinical probability groups.
Patient were follow up during 3 months in primary care setting.


In the period of 20 months (from 2007 to 2009) a total number of 1048 patients (male: 250 , female: 798 mean age: 61.4) with symptoms suggestive of DVT of the lower extremities entered the study. Among the 100 patients classified in the group with a high probability of DVT of the lower extremities, 40 (40%) patients (proximal DVT - 13; distal DVT - 27) were diagnosed with it (95% CI [30.94% -49.80%]). In the group with a moderate probability consisting of 302 patients, DVT of the lower extremities was diagnosed in 19 (6.29%) patients (95% CI [4.06% -9.62%]), (proximal DVT – 1; distal DVT - 18). Of the 646 patients with a low probability of DVT of the lower extremities distal DVT was diagnosed in 1 (0.15%) patient (95% CI [0.03% -0.87%]).


The Wells scale used in primary care setting demonstrated a high degree of accuracy.
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