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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when blood thickens and clumps together. It has been more than 120 years ago that Dr. Rudolf Virchow described this condition and postulated 3 factors for the development of DVT:
1) Alterations in blood flow or stasis.
2) Inflammation, irritation or injury of the vessel wall.
3) Alterations in the constitution of blood, thrombophilia, or
hypercoagulability.

 

There are hereditary risk factors for developing DVT. In addition, hospitalized patients especially if they have undergone surgery are at risk. Slowing blood flow in a deep veins due to lack of movement. This may occur after surgery, if you’re ill and in bed for a long time, or if you’re traveling for a long hours (>8 hrs). Other factors include: Pregnancy and the first 6 weeks after giving birth, recent or ongoing treatment for cancer, having a central venous catheter which is a tube placed in a vein to allow easy access to the bloodstream for medical treatment, being older than 60 years is a risk factor for DVT (although DVT can occur at any age) and being overweight or obese. Your risk for DVT increases if you have more than one of the risk factors listed above.

Most deep vein blood clots occur in the pelvis (iliac veins) or leg or thigh (femoral veins). They also can occur in other parts of the body such as in the veins of the upper arm. Only about half of the people who have DVT have signs and symptoms.

These signs and symptoms occur in the leg affected by the deep vein clot. They may include:
a) Swelling of the leg or along a vein in the leg,
b) Pain or tenderness in the leg, which you may feel only when standing or walking,
c) Increased warmth in the area of the leg that’s swollen or painful,
d) Red or discolored skin on the leg.

A blood clot in a deep vein can break off and travel through the bloodstream. The loose clot is called an embolus. It can travel to an artery in the lungs and block blood flow. This condition is called pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE is a very serious condition. It can damage the lungs, cause severe shortness of breath and in worse cases it can cause death. Some people aren’t aware of a deep vein clot until they have signs and symptoms of PE.

Signs and symptoms of PE include:
a) Unexplained shortness of breath,
b) Pain with deep breathing,
c) Coughing up blood

Blood clots in the thighs are more likely to break off and cause PE than blood clots that form in veins below the knee or other parts of the body. Blood clots also can form in veins closer to the skin’s surface called superficial vein thrombosis (SVT). However, these clots won’t break off and cause PE.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when blood thickens and clumps together. It has been more than 120 years ago that Dr. Rudolf Virchow described this condition and postulated 3 factors for the development of DVT:
1) Alterations in blood flow or stasis.
2) Inflammation, irritation or injury of the vessel wall.
3) Alterations in the constitution of blood, thrombophilia, or
hypercoagulability.

There are hereditary risk factors for developing DVT. In addition, hospitalized patients especially if they have undergone surgery are at risk. Slowing blood flow in a deep veins due to lack of movement. This may occur after surgery, if you’re ill and in bed for a long time, or if you’re traveling for a long hours (>8 hrs). Other factors include: Pregnancy and the first 6 weeks after giving birth, recent or ongoing treatment for cancer, having a central venous catheter which is a tube placed in a vein to allow easy access to the bloodstream for medical treatment, being older than 60 years is a risk factor for DVT (although DVT can occur at any age) and being overweight or obese. Your risk for DVT increases if you have more than one of the risk factors listed above.

Most deep vein blood clots occur in the pelvis (iliac veins) or leg or thigh (femoral veins). They also can occur in other parts of the body such as in the veins of the upper arm. Only about half of the people who have DVT have signs and symptoms.

These signs and symptoms occur in the leg affected by the deep vein clot. They may include:
a) Swelling of the leg or along a vein in the leg,
b) Pain or tenderness in the leg, which you may feel only when standing or walking,
c) Increased warmth in the area of the leg that’s swollen or painful,
d) Red or discolored skin on the leg.

A blood clot in a deep vein can break off and travel through the bloodstream. The loose clot is called an embolus. It can travel to an artery in the lungs and block blood flow. This condition is called pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE is a very serious condition. It can damage the lungs, cause severe shortness of breath and in worse cases it can cause death. Some people aren’t aware of a deep vein clot until they have signs and symptoms of PE.

Signs and symptoms of PE include:
a) Unexplained shortness of breath,
b) Pain with deep breathing,
c) Coughing up blood

Blood clots in the thighs are more likely to break off and cause PE than blood clots that form in veins below the knee or other parts of the body. Blood clots also can form in veins closer to the skin’s surface called superficial vein thrombosis (SVT). However, these clots won’t break off and cause PE.

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