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Blood Clot in the Legs (cont.)

What are the signs and symptoms of DVT (deep vein thrombosis)?

Signs and symptoms of DVT or deep vein thrombosis occur in the affected leg when a clot obstructs blood flow and causes inflammation. Signs and symptoms of DVT may include:

  1. Swelling
  2. Gradual onset of pain
  3. Redness
  4. Warmth to the touch
  5. Worsening leg pain when bending the foot
  6. Leg cramps, especially at night, and often starting in the calf
  7. Bluish or whitish discoloration of skin

Some people with deep vein thrombosis do not experience any symptoms.

What causes DVT (deep vein thrombosis)?

Three factors may lead to formation of a clot inside a blood vessel:

  1. Damage to the inside of a blood vessel due to trauma or other conditions
  2. Changes in normal blood flow, including unusual turbulence, or partial or complete blockage of blood flow
  3. Hypercoagulability, a rare state in which the blood is more likely than usual to clot

Any event or condition that can lead to blood vessel damage, hypercoagulability, or change in blood flow can potentially cause deep vein thrombosis. The more common risk factors are:

  • Prolonged sitting, such as during a long plane flight or car ride
  • Prolonged bed rest or immobility, such as after injury or during illness (for example stroke)
  • Recent surgery, particularly orthopedic (especially hip, leg, or , knee such as knee or hip replacement), gynecologic, heart, or abdominal surgery
  • Recent trauma to the lower body, such as fractures of the bones of the hip, thigh, or lower leg
  • Obesity
  • Heart attack or heart failure
  • Pregnancy or recent childbirth
  • Being at very high altitude, greater than 14,000 feet
  • Use of estrogen therapy or birth control pills
  • Cancer
  • Rare inherited genetic conditions that lead to changes in certain blood clotting factors
  • Certain heart or respiratory conditions
  • Advanced age
  • Medical conditions that affect the veins such as vasculitis (inflammation of the vein walls), varicose veins
  • Superficial venous thrombosis (SVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a superficial vein near the surface of the body. While not the same as DVT (which occurs in deep veins) it can be a risk factor for DVT/PE
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a medical condition in which blood clotting occurs inappropriately, usually is caused by overwhelming infection or organ failure

If an individual has one deep vein thrombosis, they are 33% more likely to develop a second deep vein thrombosis within 10 years.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/19/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about DVT (Blood Clot in the Leg, Deep Vein Thrombosis):

Deep Vein Thrombosis - Diagnosis

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Deep Vein Thrombosis - Causes

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DVT - Experience

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DVT - Medications

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DVT - Surgery

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Deep Vein Thrombosis - Symptoms

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Deep Vein Thrombosis - Treatments

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Deep Venous Thrombosis »

Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) most commonly involves the deep veins of the leg or arm, often resulting in potentially life-threatening emboli to the lungs or debilitating venous alular dysfunction and chronic leg swelling.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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