Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis, commonly referred to as DVT, occurs when a blood clot forms in the large veins of the legs or pelvic area. These are veins located deep in the muscles of the body. Most cases of DVT occur in the legs, but can occur anywhere that blood pools in the veins.
DVT does not discriminate based on age or gender – anyone is susceptible. However, there are risk factors that can significantly increase the likelihood of developing DVT.
Causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Most often DVT occurs in those who are stationary for long periods of time. However, medications and medical conditions can also cause DVT. The most common occurrences of DVT include:
- Long surgeries
- Extended bed rest
- Long flights or car rides
- Catheter-based treatments
- Pacemakers and ICDs
- Repeated motions
Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis
They may be painful, but some may be completely asymptomatic. Signs of symptomatic DVT include:
- Pain, aching and soreness, usually only in one leg
- Discoloration, often redness, of skin
- Swelling in the area of the clot
- Warm sensation
It is important to have the symptoms of DVT treated promptly by a vein specialist. Untreated DVT can lead to a pulmonary embolism – when a fragment of clotted blood separates and travels to the lungs). This is an emergency situation that can, in some cases, be fatal.
Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis
The first step in treating DVT is usually achieved with anticoagulant medicines. These medicines are often called blood thinners, but they do not actually thin the blood. They prevent blood clots by increasing the time it takes a blood clot to form. Also, anticoagulants help prevent existing blood clots from becoming larger.