Doctor's Notes on DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which blood clots (thrombi, singular = thrombus) for in the deep veins of the extremities, usually the legs. There are a number of potential causes of DVT. Causes include broken bones, other trauma to a limb, immobility (such as prolonged bedrest or long flights), medications, smoking, genetic predisposition, and certain cancers.
Deep vein thrombosis may not cause any associated symptoms or signs. Symptoms that do occur may include:
- swelling of the involved leg,
- leg pain,
- redness, and
DVT (thrombus) in the deep veins of the leg becomes dangerous if a piece of the blood clot breaks off and passes through the blood stream, through the heart, and into the pulmonary arteries. This is known as a pulmonary embolism.
What Is the Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Treatment of deep vein thrombosis typically involves medications:
- Anticoagulant medications, sometimes referred to as blood thinner drugs, work to prevent a clot from enlarging and prevent the development of more clots. Anticoagulant drugs are the most common form of treatment.
- Thrombolytic medication are drugs used to dissolve a blood clot and are given intravenously or through a catheter directed at the site of the clot. Thrombolytics are used for more severe cases of DVT.
For some people, a filter is inserted into a large vein known as the inferior vena cava (IVC) to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs.
DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE) QuizQuestion
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs in the _______________.See Answer
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Blood ClotsBlood is supposed to clot to help repair a blood vessel that is injured. Clots or thrombi become a problem when they form inappropriately. There are a variety of illnesses and risk factors that can lead to blood clot formation such as atrial fibrillation, heart attack, strokes, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and more. Diagnosis and treatment of blood clots depends on the cause and severity of the clot.
HematomaA hematoma is a collection of blood outside a blood vessel usually caused by injury to the blood vessel wall. Causes of hematoma include: trauma, head injury, bumps, infections, and diseases. Symptoms may be pain, redness, and swelling. Treatment of hematoma depends on the cause.
Leg PainThere are a variety of causes of leg pain. Some of the common causes include fractures, strains, sprains, bleeding, diseases such as gout, peripheral artery disease, and cancer. Leg pain can also be caused by blood clots, sciatica, neuropathy, joint pain, muscle injury, and skin abnormalities. Treatment of leg pain depends on the cause.
PhlebitisPhlebitis is the inflammation of a vein. Superficial phlebitis affects the veins on the surface of the skin. Deep vein thrombophlebitis affects the larger veins deep in the veins. Blood clots in the legs can form from deep vein thrombophlebitis and potentially lead to pulmonary embolism.Causes of phlebitis include sedentary lifestyle, smoking, varicose veins, cancer, hormone therapy, birth control pills, obesity, or injury to the legs or arms. Symptoms and signs of phlebitis include red, tender, warm, hard, throbbing, or burning feeling along the skin. Fever, may sometimes be present. Treatment depends on the location and severity of the condition.
Pulmonary EmbolismA pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot in the lung. The clot typically comes from other areas of the body and travels to the lung, where it becomes lodged. Pulmonary embolism can cause serious problems, from shortness of breath to instantaneous death, depending on the nature of the clot.
StrokeStroke is a medical emergency. When a person has a stroke, part of the blood supply to the brain is cut off or greatly decreased. There are two main types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Stroke symptoms include dizziness, sudden headache, weakness in an arm or leg on the same side, weakness in the muscles of the face, difficulty speaking, vision problems, and more. Treatment of stroke depends on the type and severity of the stroke suffered.
Transient Ischemic Attack (Mini-Stroke)A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, is often a warning sign of a future stroke - you should call paramedics right away (dial 911 in the U.S.). Blood clots, occluded arteries and leaking blood vessels caused by high blood pressure may cause TIAs. Symptoms: include neurologic deficits, speech problems, vision problems, and confusion.
Varicose VeinsVaricose veins are thought to be inherited in some people. Other caues of varicose veins include pregnancy, prolonged standing, obesity, straining (constipation, chronic choughing, enlarged prostate, etc.), prior surgery to the leg, and age. Treatments for varicose veins include several modalities and surgery.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.