Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that occurs in a deep vein, usually in the legs.
These clots can be dangerous, as they can break loose, travel through the bloodstream to the lungs and block blood flow in the lungs causing pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is often life-threatening.
DVT can also cause chronic problems. It can damage the vein and cause the leg to ache, swell or develop sores.
Inactivity can cause blood clots, for example, if you're seated for a long flight or car trip or are bedridden.
- Swelling, warmth or redness of the affected leg
- Tenderness or ache in the calf or thigh
- DVT can also occur with no symptoms at all
Ultrasound can be used to measure the blood flow through your veins and help find any clots that might be blocking the flow.
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as heparin. Treatment usually involves taking blood thinners for at least 3 months to prevent existing clots from growing.
- Compression stockings: These tight-fitting, elastic stockings help reduce the chances that your blood will pool and clot and can help reduce pain and swelling.
- Vena cava filter: This filter is inserted into the vena cava, the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the abdomen and legs. A vena cava filter helps prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs and prevents pulmonary embolism.