Deep Vein Thrombosis
(Blood Clot in the Leg, DVT)
Deep Vein Thrombosis Overview
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) refers to a blood clot embedded in one of the major deep veins of the lower legs, thighs, or pelvis. A clot blocks blood circulation through these veins, which carry blood from the lower body back to the heart. The blockage can cause acute pain, swelling, or warmth in the affected leg. Blood clots in the veins can cause inflammation (irritation) called thrombophlebitis. Severe complications of deep vein thrombosis occur when a clot breaks loose (or embolizes) and travels through the bloodstream, causing blockage of blood vessels (pulmonary arteries) in the lung. Called pulmonary embolism (PE), this can lead to severe difficulty in breathing and even death, depending on the degree of blockage.
Approximately 300,000 to 600,000 people are affected by DVT/PE each year in the United States, and 60,000 to 100,000 Americans die of DVT/PE (also called venous thromboembolism).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2014
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