Deep-venous thrombosis or DVT: Information, Research, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Deep-venous Thrombosis or Deep-vein Thrombosis (DVT)


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The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.


Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein. It commonly affects the leg veins, such as the femoral vein or the popliteal vein or the deep veins of the pelvis. Occasionally the veins of the arm are affected (known as Paget-Schrötter disease). There is a significant risk of the thrombus embolizing and traveling to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism.


Symptoms of DVT:

Some blood clots in the leg veins do not cause any symptoms. However, when the clots involve larger veins, patients may experience the following symptoms:

  • pain / tenderness
  • swelling (edema)
  • changes in skin color (redness) in one leg
  • dilation of the surface veins
  • sensation of heaviness in the affected leg - particularly when they have been standing.

Symptoms tend to be more severe when the blood clot is larger.

Symptoms with a larger clot include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain - the pain tends to be knife-like, and often is worse when you take deep breaths.

    If the pulmonary embolism is very large, symptoms may be more dramatic, such as a fainting spells, severe shortness of breath, and coughing up blood. A large pulmonary embolus can cause sudden death.


When to Call a Professional:

  • Call your doctor or go to a hospital emergency room immediately if you develop shortness of breath or sharp chest pain.
  • Call your doctor if you have swelling, pain, redness or warmth in one leg. If you had a LENI test that was inconclusive and your doctor asked you to return in three or four days for another test, call your doctor sooner if your leg swelling worsens.


Common Treatments:

  • Physicians may prescribe oral medication (blood tinners, etc.)
  • Rarely, surgery may be performed when medications fail:
    • Removal of a large blood clot from the vein or injection of clot-busting medicines may be used
    • Placement of a screen in the body's largest vein to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs


Expected Duration:

  • If you have a DVT or pulmonary embolism, your symptoms should improve within a few days after starting treatment with blood-thinning medication.
  • Most people recover completely, but some people who had a very large pulmonary embolism or who already had lung disease will continue to have lung problems.
  • Some people who have had a DVT develop a long-term problem with swelling of their legs called post-phlebitic syndrome. These people often need to wear special stockings that help squeeze blood back toward the heart.

Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.



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