Research Article

Complications of ascending phlebography of the leg.

Br Med J 1978; 2 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.2.6133.317 (Published 29 July 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;2:317
  1. M L Thomas,
  2. L M MacDonald

    Abstract

    Forty patients were studied prospectively for complications of ascending phlebography. The commonest immediate complication was pain at the site of injection and the commonest delayed complication pain in the foot or calf. Out of 30 patients with pain in the foot and calf, 15 had venous thrombosis. Review of 200 case notes disclosed only one recorded complication--namely, necrosis of the dorsal skin of the foot. Complications of the procedure reported by referring clinicians over 10 years comprised four cases of necrosis of the dorsum of the foot and two of gangrene of the foot, in one of which the gangrene spread to the leg. Major complications of ascending phlebography are rare, though when they occur may cause serious morbidity. If a scrupulous technique is used contrast phlebography remains the most accurate method of diagnosing venous disease of the leg.