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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot develops in a vein deep in the body. Deep veins are found within groups of muscles. The veins close to the skin are called superficial veins. While these clots most often develop in the lower legs or thighs, they may appear in the upper body, such as the arms or other locations in the body. Deep vein thrombosis is a risk for any major surgery, but patients who have surgery of the legs or hips are at higher risk.

Risk Factors of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Risk of deep vein thrombosis and thrombophlebitis include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • obesity
  • an inherited tendency that increases risk for blood clots
  • age (greater than 60)

type A blood group

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis occurs without symptoms about 50 percent of the time. When symptoms of deep vein thrombosis do occur, they may include:

  • swelling in the leg
  • red, discolored, or white skin
  • a cord in a leg vein that can be felt
  • rapid heart beat (tachycardia)
  • slight fever
  • warm skin
  • more visible surface veins
  • dull ache, tightness, tenderness or pain in the leg (these symptoms may only occur while walking or standing)

The symptoms of deep vein thrombosis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Diagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis may include any, or a combination, of a duplex ultrasound, MRI or venogram.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment

Deep vein thrombosis treatment may include medications or a vena cava filter.

Specific deep vein thrombosis treatment will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your signs and symptoms
  • your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference