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Yes, you can die of a deep vein thrombosis. Death in DVT cases typically occurs when the clot or a piece of it travels to the lung (pulmonary embolism). Most DVTs resolve on their own. If a pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs, the prognosis can be more severe.
- About 25% of people who have a PE will die suddenly, and that will be the only symptom.
- About 23% of people with PE will die within 3 months of diagnosis, just over 30% will die after 6 months, and there is a 37% mortality (death) rate at 1 year after being diagnosed.
If an individual has had one deep vein thrombosis, they are more likely than the average person to have another deep vein thrombosis.
- The CDC estimates 33% of people with DVT/PE will have a recurrence within 10 years.
- Recurrence of DVT is more common in patients with risk factors such as cancer or inherited blood-clotting problems. Recurrence is less common in patients who have short-term risk factors, such as surgery or temporary inactivity.
- Closely follow the prevention instructions from the doctor.
- Anticoagulant therapy lowers the death rate from pulmonary embolism significantly.
For more information, read our full medical article on deep vein thrombosis.
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Dentali, F., et al. "Pulmonary embolism severity index accurately predicts long-term mortality rate in patients hospitalized for acute pulmonary embolism." Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis . 11.12 (2013): 2103-2120.
Litzendorf, M. E. and B Satiani. "Superficial venous thrombosis: disease progression and evolving treatment approaches." Vascular Health and Risk Management. 7 (2011): 569-575.
Lucena, J., et al. "Pulmonary embolism and sudden-unexpected death: prospective study on 2477 forensic autopsies performed at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Seville." Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 16.4 (2009): 196-201.
MedlinePlus. Deep Vein Thrombosis. Thompson, B.T., MD. "Overview of acute pulmonary embolism in adults." Updated: Aug 08, 2016.