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DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS

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What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?


A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, most commonly in the leg but it can also occur in the arm. The vein can be either partially or completely blocked.

What are causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?


When the blood flow through veins is altered due to any of following reasons clots are formed in veins:
  1. Reduced blood flow through the veins- Any situation which reduces mobility like accident, surgery or illness or long-distance travel (air, car, coach or train) reduces the blood flow through veins making it prone for clot formation.
  2. Changes in the clotting mechanism of the blood caused by pregnancy, some drug treatments and some inherited conditions causes clot formation in veins.
  3. Damage to the lining of the blood vessel wall in certain conditions like surgical procedures, trauma or inflammation makes blood cells prone to stick to lining of veins causing clot formation.

What are the risk factors of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?


Below are few of the risk factors of DVT:

  • Inheriting a blood-clotting disorder
  • Prolonged bed rest, such as during a long hospital stay, or paralysis
  • Injury or surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy.
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Heart failuret
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • A personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.e
  • Age. Age more than 60 increases your risk of DVT
  • Sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying.

What are the signs and symptoms Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?


Below are a few of the symptoms of DVT:

  • Swelling in the affected leg
  • Pain in leg starting in calf
  • Cramps or soreness in legs
  • Red or discolored skin on the leg
  • A feeling of warmth in the affected leg
  • Unable to bear weight
  • DVT nearly always affects one leg only

What are the complications of DVT?


Pulmonary embolism is a dangerous condition which can develop if DVT is left untreated. In this condition an embolus ( a blood clot) travels from affected leg to lungs and causes sudden shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough, causes lightheadednerss or dizziness, fainting, rapid pulse and coughing up of blood.

How do we diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis?


A few of the methods to diagnose DVT are mentioned below:

Ultrasound

This is the most commonly used test for diagnosing DVT. If a clot is present, your doctor will be able to see the interrupted blood flow and make the diagnosis.

Venogram

If the ultrasound is inconclusive, venogram is done. During this test, a dye is injected into the vein then an X-ray is taken over the area where your doctor suspects DVT. The dye makes the vein more visible, so interrupted blood flow would be easily seen.

D-dimer test

It measures the presence of a substance thatís released when a blood clot breaks apart. If levels of the substance are high and you have risk factors for DVT, you likely have a clot.

How do we treat Deep Vein Thrombosis?


A few of the methods to treat DVT are mentioned below:

Medication

Blood thinners are medications that thin your blood like heparin, warfarin (Coumadin),enoxaparin (Lovenox), or fondaparinux (Arixtra) are given to stop progression of thrombus formation. If blood thinners donít work then thrombolytic drugs are intravenously to bresk the existing clot.

Compression stockings

Compression stockings can prevent swelling and might lower the chance of developing clots. Compression stockings reach just below your knee or right above it.

Filters

Filters are usually put inside the large abdominal vein called the vena cava if patient is not able to take blood thinners. This form of treatment helps prevent pulmonary embolisms by stopping clots from entering lungs. But filters if left inside for too long, they can actually cause DVT. Filters should be used for a short-term period, until the risk of thromboembolism is reduced and blood thinning medications can be used.

DVT surgery

Surgery is recommended in very large blood clots or clots that are causing serious issues, like tissue damage. During a surgical thrombectomy, the clot is located and removed through an incision into a blood vessel. Complications in surgery include infection, damage to the blood vessel, and excess bleeding.

DVT exercise

There are certain excercises to be done by individuals who are more prone of developing a blood clot. If you have to be seated for long periods, there are exercises you can do while sitting to keep your legs moving and help circulate blood.

Knee pulls

Bend your leg, and raise your knee toward your chest. Wrap your knee with your arms for a greater stretch. Hold this position for several seconds, then do the same exercise on the other side. Repeat these stretches several times.

Foot pumps

Place your feet flat on the floor. Keeping the balls of your feet on the floor, raise your heels. Hold for a few seconds, then lower the heels. Raise the balls of your feet off the floor, keeping your heels in place. Hold for a few seconds, then lower the balls of your feet. Repeat these pumps several times.

Ankle circles

Lift both feet off the floor. Draw circles with your toes in one direction for a few seconds. Switch directions, and draw circles for a few seconds. Repeat this exercise several times.

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