Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT, also called venous thrombosis) is a blood clot that develops in a vein deep in the body. The clot may partially or completely block blood flow through the vein. Most DVTs occur in the lower leg, thigh or pelvis, although they also can occur in other parts of the body including the arm, brain, intestines, liver or kidney.
Deep-Vein-Thrombosis

What is the danger of DVT?

Even though DVT itself is not life-threatening, the blood clot has the potential to break free and travel through the bloodstream, where it can become lodged in the blood vessels of the lung (known as a pulmonary embolism). This can be a life- threatening condition. Therefore, prompt diagnosis and treatment are necessary.
DVT can also lead to complications in the legs referred to as chronic venous insufficiency or the post-thrombotic syndrome. This condition is characterized by pooling of blood, chronic leg swelling, increased pressure, increased pigmentation or discoloration of the skin, and leg ulcers known as venous stasis ulcers.
A DVT usually forms in one leg or one arm. Not everyone with a DVT will have symptoms, but symptoms can include:

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

Some people do not know they have a DVT until the clot moves from their leg or arm and travels to their lung.
It is important to call your doctor right away or go to the emergency room if you have symptoms of a pulmonary embolism or DVT. Do not wait to see if the symptoms “go away.” Get treatment right away to prevent serious complications.

Causes

The following conditions can increase your risk of a DVT:

How is DVT diagnosed?

A duplex venous ultrasound. This is the most common test used to diagnose a DVT. It shows the blood flow in the veins and any blood clots that exist. An ultrasound technician will apply pressure while scanning your arm or leg. If the pressure does not cause the vein to compress, it could mean there is a blood clot.
Venography. This test uses X-rays to show your deep veins. A special dye (contrast material) is injected into your veins so the X-rays show the veins and any blood clots. Any blockage in blood flow may also be seen. Venography may be used if the results of the duplex ultrasound aren’t clear.

Other tests you may have include:

If your doctor thinks you may have a genetic disorder that causes blood clots, you may need blood tests. This may be important if:

What treatments are available for patients with a DVT?

Patients with a DVT may need to be treated in the hospital. Others may be able to have outpatient treatment.

Treatments include medications, compression stockings and elevating the affected leg. If the blood clot is extensive, you may need more invasive testing and treatment. The main goals of treatment are to:
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by sticking to your treatment plan and the following tips.

Doctors & Hospitals

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