What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis is a serious illness that can lead to long-term complications if it’s not treated promptly, so early diagnosis is important.   But what is deep vein thrombosis?

Deep Vein Thrombosis

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the body, and inhibits the flow of blood back to the heart.  DVT usually develops in a leg vein, but it can also affect veins in the pelvis and other areas of the body.  

DVT should be treated with urgency because if the clot breaks free, it can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a life-threatening condition.

Symptoms of DVT include intense cramping, swelling, pain, and discoloration in the leg. 

Diagnosis Of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Diagnosing DVT typically involves taking a patient’s medical history and performing a physical examination.  An ultrasound may also be required to detect the location of the blood clot. 

Treatments For Deep Vein Thrombosis

DVT is typically treated with an anticoagulation agent, which is a  blood thinner.   Blood thinners prevent a clot from breaking off and reduce the blood’s ability to clot, and therefore prevent the formation of new clots.   Anticoagulant therapy is a very effective treatment for DVT, and has a low risk of complications. 

Extensive blood clot formation may require the use of clot-dissolving medications (thrombolytics) or clot-dissolving procedures.  Clot-dissolving medications are infused directly into the clot through a catheter.   

DVT can also be treated using an Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter.   This option is  generally recommended for people who can’t take blood thinners.  An IVC filter is a small device that is placed in the inferior vena cava (a large vein in the abdomen) to protect against pulmonary embolism. 

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