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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition and is considered a medical emergency. It occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside your body. A blood clot is a clump of blood that’s turned to a solid-state.  In most cases, they form in your thigh or lower leg, but they can also develop in other areas of your body. The blood supply of the leg is transported by arteries and veins. The arteries carry blood from the heart to the limbs; veins carry blood back to the heart. If the clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream, it can lodge in the lung. This blockage in the lung can make it difficult to breathe and may even cause death.

 

Causes

Many factors can contribute to the formation of a DVT. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the risk. However, even people without these risk factors can form a DVT. Risk range from the following:

Blood or vein conditions:

  • Previous DVT
  • Varicose veins
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Family history of DVT or blood clotting disorders

Other medical conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Chronic swelling of the legs
  • Obesity
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer
  • Dehydration
  • Sepsis

Women’s health issues:

  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Birth control pills containing estrogen
  • Pregnancy or recent childbirth

Other:

  • Age over 40 years old
  • Immobility (through inactivity or from wearing a cast)
  • Recent surgery
  • Trauma (an injury)
  • Smoking

 

Symptoms

Some people with DVT in the leg have either no warning signs at all or very vague symptoms.

Contact us if you notice:

  • Swelling in the leg
  • Pain in the calf or thigh
  • Warmth and redness of the leg

 

Our Approach

The diagnosis must be performed because of the similarities between symptoms of DVT and those of other conditions. If DVT is suspected, we will immediately perform some tests, which may include a blood test, Doppler ultrasound, venogram, MRI or angiogram. If tests indicate a clot is present, we will make a recommendation regarding treatment. Depending on the location of the clot, you may need hospitalization. Medical or surgical care will be managed by a team of physicians.

Treatment may include:

  • Medication. A blood-thinning medication is usually prescribed to help prevent additional clots from forming.
  • Compression stockings. Wearing fitted hosiery decreases pain and swelling.
  • Surgery. A surgical procedure performed by a vascular specialist may be required.

 

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