Understanding Deep Vein Thrombosis

Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2021


Did you know? Half of patients with deep vein thrombosis show no symptoms.

Roughly 10%-30% of patients with deep vein thrombosis die within a month of diagnosis.

01 | Introduction

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that if left untreated can cause serious complications or even death. DVT is defined by a blood clot that forms when blood flow changes within one of the deep veins. This condition is treatable but many patients may not know if they have DVT. It is important for patients to notice subtle signs of DVT like swelling or tightness in the leg, cramps in the leg, redness, discoloration, warmth, and pain or tenderness when standing or walking.

02 | Causes

There are many causes associated with DVT, there is not one clearly defined reason, and it can occur in anyone. The following can increase chances of getting DVT in those who: 

  • are over 40 years of age
  • sit for long periods of time
  • are on restrictive movement/bed rest
  • are obese
  • have inherited blood disorders
  • have a vein injury
  • smoke

03 | Treatment

Treatment of DVT when detected early is fairly simple and usually only requires medication like blood thinners. If the patient is unable to take a blood thinner due to other medical conditions, an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is implanted in the largest vein of the body to catch the clot before it enters the lungs.   Pulmonary embolism and chronic venous insufficiency are two major complications with DVT. Pulmonary embolism is when a piece of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs. Chronic venous insufficiency is when a clot permanently damages your vein. If a patient suffers from either of these or more serious outcomes resulting from DVT they will require a specific treatment plan tailored to their condition.

04 | Prevention

Maintaining healthy weight, staying active, and stopping smoking are important to DVT prevention. Keeping your feet up and stretching after sitting for extended periods is helpful to ensure proper blood flow. Overall health is important to lowering your risk of DVT and other serious illnesses. Be sure to have regular check-ups with your primary care provider to monitor blood levels and assess any health concerns.

Learn More

For more information on hematological conditions please visit https://hematology.org.

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