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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) - All You Should Know About It!

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ramakrishna Pinjala 85% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, FRCSED, Surgery
Vascular Surgeon, Hyderabad  •  39 years experience
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) - All You Should Know About It!

What is DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis is a kind of vascular disorder. It happens when a thrombus (blood clot) forms in the deep vein anywhere in the body. It especially develops in the legs. This is a grave ailment and can actually be fatal for you unless you seek treatment right away.

What are the symptoms of DVT?

A worrying feature of deep vein thrombosis is that in most cases it shows no symptoms in the earlier phases. Moreover, what makes diagnosis hard is that even when symptoms manifest, they are very similar to those of other disorders like tissue or muscle inflammation or arthritis.

Here are some typical deep vein thrombosis symptoms:

• One or both of your legs become swollen
• Your legs feel tender and hurt a lot in all postures
• The skin of your legs always feel hot to the touch
• Your skin looks blotchy or discoloured
• You bleed when you cough
Wheezing and breathing problems
Dizziness
• Frequent and sharp chest pain

Who is susceptible to DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis usually happens when you sit or lie in one position for long stretches of time especially when you are recuperating after an illness or surgery. It can also happen to you for other reasons-

• Injury: An injury to your legs can narrow the blood vessels and that reduces the blood flow through the veins. That is why blood clots can develop there.
Pregnancy: The additional weight that woman has to carry in the course of her pregnancy exerts extra pressure on the veins of the legs and pelvis and thus clots may form in the veins.
• Contraceptive pills: Birth control pills raise the chances of a woman getting deep vein thrombosis by four times.
Obesity: Obesity means forcing extra pressure onto your veins.
Smoking: Smoking interferes with the flow of blood through your veins and raises the possibility of getting blood clots.
• The family history of deep vein thrombosis: if anyone in your family has deep vein thrombosis, you might contract it too because it is hereditary.

Complications:

DVT becomes lethal if the blood clot becomes dislodged and travels from the legs to the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism. This can lead to blockage of the artery of the lung and in that case, a person may die.

Treatment for deep vein thrombosis:

Treatment for DVT includes both invasive and non-invasive vascular techniques.

• Blood-thinning medicines: They prevent blood platelets from clumping together and reduce the size of the existing clots.
• Thrombolytic drugs: If medicines are not effective, work, these drugs will be injected into your veins. They travel down the veins to where the blockage is and disintegrate the clots so that blood can once again flow through the vein uninterrupted.
• Compression stockings: They exert pressure on the vein containing the clot, prevent it from moving, and do not allow new clots to develop. You have to wear them throughout the day.
• Surgery: In very rare cases, when non-invasive methods have no effect, you may have to undergo a kind of vascular surgery called venous thrombectomy. The surgeon will make a minute incision in the vein where the clot is lodged, siphon it out and then repair the damaged vein.

Deep vein thrombosis is easily curable with treatment. Do not delay it, as DVT has the potential to kill you.

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