Prevalence of femoral vein duplication: systematic review and metaanalysis

William Sibuor, Vincent Kipkorir, Isaac Cheruiyot, Fidel Gwala, Beda Olabu

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2021; 21: e326–e331
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2021.0054

Background: Duplication of the femoral vein is an important anatomical variation of the venous anatomy which has been shown to have an impact on the diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis by compression ultrasonography. The presence of duplication may result in false negative findings while evaluating for deep venous thrombosis, with serious consequences such as pulmonary embolism and death. This metaanalysis aims to determine the pooled prevalence of duplicated femoral veins. Methods: A systematic search was conducted through the major databases PubMed, Hinari, Embase and Medline to identify studies eligible for inclusion. Appropriate data were extracted and pooled into a random-effects metaanalysis using MetaXL software. The primary and secondary outcomes of the study included the pooled prevalence of duplicated femoral veins and the prevalence of bilaterally duplicated femoral veins, respectively. Results: A total of 11 studies (n = 3,682 limbs) were included. The overall pooled prevalence of duplicated femoral veins was 19.7% (95% CI 11–30). There was a significant difference in prevalence between cadaveric studies (2%, 95% CI 1–4) and imaging studies (25%, 95% CI 17–34). Conclusion: Duplication of the femoral vein is a common variation in the lower limbs. Routine watch-out should be practiced especially when performing lower limb Doppler studies in cases of deep venous thrombosis in order to avoid misdiagnosis and improve diagnostic accuracy.

femoral vein duplication, deep venous thrombosis, ultrasound