What is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body. This usually occurs in the legs.

There are different causes for deep vein thrombosis. It can occur if you are immobile, such as after a surgery or accident, or when you are confined to bed. Another cause of DVT is if you have certain medical conditions the cause blood clots.

Deep vein thrombosis can be very serious because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow. This is called a pulmonary embolism.

What are the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis?

Only about half of the people who have DVT have signs and symptoms. If you do have symptoms, the symptoms occur in the leg affected by the deep vein clot and may 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

What imaging is done to diagnose deep vein thrombosis?

Duplex ultrasonography is an imaging test that uses sound waves to look at the flow of blood in the veins. It is the standard imaging test used to diagnose DVT. It can detect blockages or blood clots in the deep veins.

What intervention/treatment can be performed for deep vein thrombosis?

Treatment usually includes anticoagulants and compression hose. If the clot dose not decrease in size or continues to grow, an interventional radiologist can perform a catheter directed thrombolysis and thrombectomy to remove the clot.

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