Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)

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Definition

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) occurs when your blood thickens in a clump that becomes solid, forming a clot. Nearly 300,000 first-time cases of DVT occur in the U.S. every year, usually in the leg. If you develop a clot and a piece of it breaks off, it could travel to one of your lungs and make breathing difficult, or even cause death.

Symptoms

Symptoms may be absent but typically there is pain and swelling of the leg.

What are the risk factors?

Inactivity, such as after a major operation, or extended sitting in a car trip or flight.

  • Genetic conditions
  • Trauma
  • Cancer
  • Medications, such as hormones
  • Smoking

How is it diagnosed?

  • A blood test
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • Venography

How is it treated?

DVTs are usually treated with medications such as anticoagulants or blood thinners.
Sometimes, patients are unable to be on blood thinners and may require an inferior vena cava filter to prevent the clot from breaking off and going to the lungs.

Occasionally, the clot can be so significant that it may require thrombolytic therapy to dissolve the clot. This treatment has an increased risk of bleeding and is only used in select circumstances.

How do I find a physician to treat my condition?

For further questions or to make an appointment please contact the Vascular Health Alliance at 864-454-8272.