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What is a DVT?

DVT : Deep Vein Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein , predominantly in the legs. Non-specific signs may include pain, swelling , redness, warmness, and engorged superficial veins . Pulmonary embolism , a potentially life-threatening complication , is caused by the detachment ( embolization) of a clot that travels to the lungs. Together, DVT and pulmonary embolism constitute a single disease process known as venous thromboembolism .

Who is at risk?

Several medical conditions increase the risk for DVT, including cancer, trauma, andantiphospholipid syndrome. Other risk factors include older age, surgery, immobilization (as with bed rest, orthopedic casts, and sitting on long flights),combined oral contraceptives, pregnancy, the postnatal period, and genetic factors such as a non-O blood type.

About 1 in 1000 adults develop DVT annually.

How is a DVT Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is most commonly done with ultrasound of the suspected veins.Anticoagulation is the standard treatment; typical medications include a low-molecular-weight heparin and a vitamin K antagonist.

How is a DVT prevented/treated?

Wearing graduated compression stockings appears to reduce the risk of post-thrombotic syndrome. Prevention options for at-risk individuals include early and frequent walking, calf exercises, anticoagulants, aspirin, graduated compression stockings, and intermittent pneumatic compression .

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

The signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) might be related to DVT itself or pulmonary embolism (PE). See your doctor right away if you have signs or symptoms of either condition. Both DVT and PE can cause serious, possibly life-threatening problems if not treated.

Only about half of the people who have DVT have signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms occur in the leg affected by the deep vein clot. They include:

  • Swelling of the leg or along a vein in the leg
  • Pain or tenderness in the leg, which you may feel only when standing or walking
  • Increased warmth in the area of the leg that’s swollen or painful
  • Red or discolored skin on the leg

PULMONARY EMBOLISM

Some people aren’t aware of a deep vein clot until they have signs and symptoms of PE. Signs and symptoms of PE include:

  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Pain with deep breathing
  • Coughing up blood

Rapid breathing and a fast heart rate also may be signs of PE.