What is DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) and How Can it Be Treated

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot (known as a thrombus) forms in a vein that is deep inside the body. A complication of DVT, pulmonary embolism (PE), can occur when a blood clot breaks loose and moves into the lungs, where it blocks circulation to these vital organs, creating a life-threatening condition. With early treatment, people with DVT can reduce their chances of developing a life threatening pulmonary embolism to less than one percent.

Risk Factors:

• Previous DVT or family history of DVT
• Immobility, such as bed rest or sitting for long periods of time in a car or plane
• Recent surgery
• Above the age of 40
• Hormone therapy or oral contraceptives
• Pregnancy or post-partum
• Previous or current cancer
• Limb trauma and/or orthopedic procedures
• Coagulation abnormalities
• Obesity

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) Symptoms:

• Changes in skin color (redness) in a leg
• Increased warmth in the leg
• Leg or calf pain or tenderness
• Swelling (edema) of the leg
• Surface veins become more visible
• Leg fatigue

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) Prevention:

• Compression stockings or support hose are routinely used
• Surgery patients are out of bed walking (ambulatory) earlier
• Low dose heparin therapy (anticoagulation therapy) is being used

As is the case with most medical illnesses, prevention is of prime importance. Understanding the risk factors and minimizing these risks is key to deep vein thrombosis prevention. Also, recognizing symptoms early is the key to quicker treatment thereby reducing the risk for developing a more serious problem such as a PE. If you feel like you are struggling with these symptoms or have been previously diagnosed but haven’t been treated, please contact us for an office consultation.

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