Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is deep vein thrombosis?
When a blood clot, known as a thrombus, forms in the deep vein that lies near the center of the leg, the condition is known as deep vein thrombosis. This happens when circulation slows because of inactivity, injury, or illness, and blood pools, allowing a clot to form.
Is deep vein thrombosis life threatening?
Yes. The deep leg veins are surrounded by powerful muscles that contract and force deoxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart. If deep vein thrombosis is left untreated, a blood clot may break off and travel to the lungs. Such a clot is known as a pulmonary embolism, which can block oxygen supply and cause heart failure. In the U.S., 600,000 cases of pulmonary embolism are diagnosed each year. One in every 100 persons diagnosed dies as a result of the embolism.
Who is at risk for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism?
You are at risk if you:
- have a personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis
- are over the age of 40
- have cancer or previously had cancer
- are obese
- are on hormone therapy (including birth control pills)
- are inactive because of bed rest or long periods of sitting (Deep vein thrombosis has also been called economy class syndrome because it frequently occurs following long airplane flights.)
- are pregnant or post-partum
What symptoms indicate the possibility of deep vein thrombosis?
- leg swelling
- leg fatigue
- leg pain, especially in the calf
- discolored legs
- warm skin
- surface veins that are more visible than they once were
How does the radiologist diagnose deep vein thrombosis?
Ultrasound technology is used to assess the healthy flow of blood through the deep leg veins.
"State of the Art Treatment for Deep Venous Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism with Temporary IVC Filters" by Dr. Phillip Zeni, Jr. Read more of this article
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) continue to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality despite improvements in diagnostic imaging and anticoagulation regimens. Pulmonary embolism is the most severe complication from deep venous thrombosis and is diagnosed in over 600,000 patients a year with as many as 150,000 deaths per year. The medical treatment of pulmonary embolism was revolutionized with the utilization of heparin…