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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Cost

Last Updated: Jan 30, 2023

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

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Blood clots that form in the body's deep veins are what cause deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. It can lead to leg pain, swelling, cramps and soreness. There are several causes of DVT including injury, surgery and infection of the blood vessels.

What are the Types of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) comes in two varieties:

  • Acute DVT: Acute thrombosis causes a vein to enlarge due to a hypoechoic thrombus and exhibits partial or no compressibility with no collaterals.
  • Chronic DVT: When there is chronic thrombosis, the vein is incompressible, irregular, and narrow. There is an echogenic thrombus connected to the venous walls with developing collaterals.
Summary: The two types of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: Acute DVT and Chronic DVT.

Common symptoms Associated with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

The common DVT symptoms include:

  • Persistent pain in the foot and ankle
  • Swelling of the leg
  • Leg pain
  • Different skin colour of the affected leg
  • Soreness
  • Cramp pain
  • Warmer skin of the affected leg

In severe cases and upper extremity DVT, people may experience the following symptoms:

  • Back pain
  • Swelling of the hand
  • Neck pain
  • Weakness of the hand
  • Change in color of the skin
Summary: The common symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: leg pain, swelling, soreness and cramps.

What causes Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

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There are many possible causes of DVT, including

  • Surgery, especially hip replacement surgery or knee replacement surgery
  • Pregnancy and childbirth Immobility
  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Obesity with high blood pressure
  • Prolonged air travel and sitting in a cramped position for long periods
  • Chemotherapy
  • Using oral contraceptives
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Injury
  • Varicose veins
Summary: The causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: heredity, pregnancy, obesity, surgery, chemotherapy, injury, and obesity.

How serious can Deep Vein Thrombosis be (DVT)?

DVT can be very serious. If you have been diagnosed, you're more likely to have another blood clot in your leg, which could move up into your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE can be a fatal emergency that requires immediate treatment with blood thinning medication.

If you are diagnosed with DVT, you must consult a doctor at the earliest. The earlier you receive treatment for the clot, the better your chances of preventing further problems.

What are the Risk factors in Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Risk factors for DVT include:

  • Age: The older you get, your possibility of getting affected by DVT increases.
  • Obesity: Being obese (having a BMI over 30) puts you at a greater risk of developing blood clots.
  • Lack of Movement: If you are sitting for a long period of time, you're at a greater risk of blood clots.
  • Pregnancy: You may develop blood clots while you are pregnant due to hormonal changes.
  • Injury: An injury can cause your body to release chemicals that make it easier for blood clots to form and reduce your mobility.
  • Smoking: Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your blood cells, making it easier for them to form clots.
Summary: The risk factors of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: obesity, age, injury, smoking, and pregnancy.

Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Although there are several things you can do to help prevent blood clots, prevention of DVT requires medical intervention for permanent relief:

  1. Get plenty of exercises each day.
  2. Eat a healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight by eating less food or calories than your body burns daily (calorie restriction).
  4. Don't smoke and avoid passive smoking.
  5. Wear support stockings every day if you have blood clots in your legs or lungs or if you are at high risk of developing them (such as people with cancer).
  6. If you have a history of blood clots formation in your body, talk to your doctor about taking an anticoagulant drug such as warfarin (Coumadin).


  • Move your frequently.
  • Move around as much as possible during the day.
  • Get 10 minutes of exercise daily.
  • Manage your body weight.


  • Don't smoke. Smoking increases the likelihood of DVT by limiting blood flow, so quitting can help reduce the risk.
  • Don't wear high-heeled shoes or other tight shoes for long periods.
  • Don't stay in bed for extended periods of sleep on your stomach.
  • Don't sit still for too long while reading or watching TV; these activities tend not only to prevent blood flow but also encourage swelling due to lack of movement throughout our bodies' systems.
Summary: Deep Vein Thrombosis can be prevented by taking a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, doing exercises and wearing compression stockings.

Diagnosis and Tests Required for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

How is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) diagnosed?

A DVT is diagnosed when a doctor detects blood clots in your veins. The most common ways to see DVTs include:

  • Blood test - A blood sample will be taken from the patient and tested for indicators of DVT such as elevated levels of fibrinogen, D-dimer, or Von Willebrand factor (vWf). You may also have to undergo an ultrasound scan to check the area around your leg, which can identify problems with circulation or inflammation.
  • Ultrasound scan - An ultrasound scan is performed using high-frequency sound waves to produce images of organs and tissues inside the body; it provides information about blood flow through certain areas.

This test may be able to determine if there are areas where there aren't enough oxygen-rich red blood cells circulating for them not only to carry out their duties. But also to keep up with demand from other body parts at once—which could lead to pulmonary edema (fluid build-up) due to heart failure caused by pulmonary hypertension if left untreated.

Summary: Blood tests and ultrasound scans can both be used to determine whether someone has deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

What tests are done for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

  • D-Dimer Test: It is a blood test that looks for an enzyme called D-dimer, which can be released into your blood after a clot breaks down. If you have a DVT, the D-dimer test can help determine if one is present.
  • Duplex Ultrasound: An ultrasound test that looks for blood clots in your veins. This test can often detect clots that aren't visible on other types of scans. It uses sound waves to make images of blood flowing through your veins, which are then analyzed by a computer to determine whether there are any clot formations.
  • MRI: An MRI scan uses a large magnet and radio waves to produce images of your body. The scanner can detect blood clots in your veins and determine their size and location.
  • Contrast Venography: A contrast venography is an imaging test that uses a special dye to make it easier to see blood vessels. A catheter is inserted into your vein, and the dye flows through your bloodstream. This enables the doctor to see where any clots are located concerning your veins.
Summary: The tests done for Deep Vein Thrombosis are: duplex ultrasound, MRI, contrast venography and D-dimer test.

What is the difference between DVT and superficial venous thrombosis?

A blood clot in a deep vein of the body, typically in the leg, is referred to as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), whereas a blood clot in a vein at the surface of the skin is referred to as a superficial vein thrombosis (SVT). While deep clots might go to the lungs and result in a pulmonary embolism, superficial vein thrombosis can cause discomfort and irritation.

Summary- DVT affects the deep vein whereas superficial venous thrombosis affects the vein near the skin surface.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Complications

  • Pulmonary Embolism: When a blood clot travels to the lungs it is called Pulmonary Embolism. The clot can block an artery and blood flow to your lungs, causing you to stop breathing.
  • Postphlebitic Syndrome: Postphlebitic syndrome is a condition that affects older people who have had DVT. It causes pain and swelling in your legs, making it difficult to walk or exercise.
Summary- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) complications include pulmonary embolism and postphlebitic syndrome.

Home Remedies for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

Home remedies are a temporary relief from DVT because the disease requires medical interventions like surgeries for permanent pain relief and to prevent the chances of aggravating something fatal. Here are some effective home remedies for deep vein thrombosis (DVT):

  1. Ice packs: Ice is the most common and effective remedy for decreasing pain, swelling, and inflammation. Use a cold pack wrapped in an ice pack or cloth for better results. Place it on your painful area for 20 minutes daily until you feel relief from the pain.
  2. Warm compress: A warm compress also reduces the pain, swelling, and inflammation caused by DVT. It is an excellent start when you have recently been diagnosed with this disease.
  3. Massage: A gentle massage can be very effective in reducing the pain of DVT. The best way to do this is using a foam roller or rolling pin. Roll over your affected area for at least 5 minutes daily until you feel relief from pain.
  4. Compression stockings: Compression stockings help in improving blood circulation and reducing swelling caused by DVT.
  5. Elevation: Keep your legs elevated at a 45-degree angle for an extended period when sitting or lying down.
  6. Exercise: It's important to stay active while you are recovering from DVT. Moderate exercise effectively improves circulation and decreases the risk of developing blood clots.
Summary- Home Remedies for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: wear loose clothes and compression stockings, take a DVT diet and maintain a healthy weight.

What to eat in Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

  1. Fish: Fish is one of the most effective food choices for DVT patients. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that help prevent blood clots from forming again and reduce inflammation caused by deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  2. Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin E—nutrients that help prevent blood clots from forming again.
  3. Berries: Berries provide a variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants that can help protect against oxidative stress caused by deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  4. Green Tea: Green tea is a great choice for those diagnosed with DVT because it contains antioxidants that can help protect against oxidative stress caused by the condition.
  5. Leafy Greens: Leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are another good option for those diagnosed with DVT because they contain vitamin K and folate—two nutrients that help reduce the risk of blood clots forming again in your veins.
  6. Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits like orange, grapefruit, and tangerines are packed with vitamin C—a powerful antioxidant that protects against oxidative stress caused by DVT.
  7. Lean Proteins: Protein-rich foods like meat, fish, and eggs are good choices for those diagnosed with DVT because they contain iron and zinc—two essential minerals that help keep your red blood cells healthy and prevent them from sticking together.
Summary: You should take a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins in case of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

What not to eat in Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

  • Processed Foods: Foods like white bread, chips, and cookies are not recommended for those diagnosed with DVT because they contain high levels of sodium—a nutrient that can cause fluid retention.
  • Trans Fats: Trans fats are artificial fats created when liquid oils are treated with hydrogen gas and made solid at room temperature. They're used to prolong the shelf life of processed foods but also increase your risk of developing heart disease by increasing your blood cholesterol levels.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic that can cause dehydration and reduce the fluid in your blood vessels, increasing your risk of developing a blood clot.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to dehydration—which may lead directly to developing a blood clot.
Summary- You should avoid processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and trans fat if suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) Treatment

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The treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is based on the stage of the disease and its severity. The first step to treating DVT is to diagnose it properly.

DVT can be either symptomatic or asymptomatic. You should tell your doctor about any symptoms you experience before it becomes severe. You may try home remedies for mild to moderate symptoms of DVT, but you shall need to opt for surgical methods for permanent relief from DVT.

  • Open Thrombectomy: This is the most common surgical procedure for treating deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A surgeon makes an incision in your leg and removes the blood clot during the surgery. This procedure is performed either under general anesthesia or with local anesthesia. The doctor may also place a catheter into your vein to drain excess fluid around the clot or remove any remaining pieces of the clot.
  • Thrombolysis: In this procedure, a doctor will inject a clot-busting drug into your bloodstream. The drug acts by dissolving the blood clot that's causing you to have DVT. The doctor may prescribe you anticoagulants to prevent new clots from forming again in your body while your body heals after thrombolysis.
  • Penumbra System: In this procedure, a unique metal filter protects you from a pulmonary embolism if anticoagulants don’t work for you. This device, called the vena cava filter, sits inside your large vein in your abdomen—the one that carries blood back to your heart and lungs.
Summary- Various alternatives for the treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: open thrombectomy, thrombolysis and penumbra system.

Which doctor to consult for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

A Hematologist is a specialist doctor to consult for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A hematologist has much experience with blood disorders, including deep vein thrombosis. A hematologist is also likely to access advanced tests to help diagnose DVT and determine the best treatment for you.

Summary- You should consult a haematologist for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Which are the best medicines for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

The best medicines for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin
  • Betrixaban
  • Edoxaban
  • Rivaroxaban
  • Dabigatran
  • Apixaban
  • Warfarin
  • Fondaparinux
Summary: Medicines used to treat Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: heparin, warfarin, apixaban, edoxaban and other anticoagulants.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) Treatment without surgery

Non-surgical treatments for Deep Vein Thrombosis include the following:

  • Blood thinners: It lowers the risk of blood clot development and aid in their prevention.
  • Compression stockings: These stockings help to prevent blood pooling in the legs.
  • Filters: It helps in blood thinning and prevents blood clots.
  • Colt busters: Colt busters are used in case of severe blood clots. It is directly placed into the clot.
Summary- Non-surgical treatments for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) include: blood thinners, filters, colt busters and compression stockings.

What are the surgical treatments for Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

Doctors will likely recommend surgery to remove the clot when diagnosing a DVT in your leg. A standard procedure is called thrombectomy. It involves inserting a catheter into your groin or knee and using imaging to guide it into the affected vein. The catheter then pulls out the blood clots that caused your DVT, which may reduce pain and swelling. Other procedures include Thrombolysis and the Penumbra System.

Sometimes patients are scared of the complications of the surgery. But difficulties are not likely to arise if experienced surgeons perform the surgery. At Pristine Care, we can connect you to the best surgeons.

Summary: During the surgical procedure, the doctor makes a small incision into the blood vessel and removes the blood clot.

What is the procedure of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) surgery?

The procedure of DVT surgery is performed in the hospital setting. It's not always necessary, but your doctor may recommend this treatment option if you have a DVT and it's causing you pain.

Your doctor will remove the clot using blood-thinning drugs and open surgery. The clot may be removed through one or both of these methods:

  • The doctor will insert a needle into the vein and inject a blood thinner called heparin. This helps prevent more clots from forming while your body works to dissolve the existing clot.
  • If you have a small clot that's accessible, doctors may use an instrument known as a catheter to remove it. The catheter is inserted through your groin and threaded into the vein where the clot is located.
Summary: In a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) surgery, the doctor removes the blood clot with the help of a catheter.

How long does recovering from Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) take?

The recovery time depends on the stringency of your DVT and the treatment you receive. You'll likely be in the hospital for several days while doctors monitor your blood clotting status, but most people can go home within a week or so.

If you have had a large clot treated with anticoagulants, it may take several months for your blood to return to normal. You must avoid certain activities such as long flights and heavy lifting during this time.

What is the cost of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatments in India?

The cost of treatment varies on the type of treatment you choose. In India, the cost of DVT can range anywhere from Rs. 1,00,000 to Rs. 2,75,000.

Are the results of the DVT treatment permanent?

Most people experience a complete recovery from DVT after treatment. However, if you've had repeated episodes of blood clots in the past, there's a chance that they could return. In this case, your doctor may suggest retaking anticoagulants.

Summary- Yes, in most cases the results of the DVT treatment is permanent.

Who is eligible for the DVT treatment?

You are eligible for the treatment if:

  • You are diagnosed with DVT by a doctor.
  • Your symptoms make it hard for you to function normally in daily life.
  • You are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You have no allergies to heparin, a blood thinner used in the treatment of DVT.
  • Your doctor advises you to get treated for DVT.
  • You are not suffering from any other illness that might complicate the treatment.
Summary: People with severe symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are eligible for the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the DVT treatment?

If you suffer from any of the conditions listed below, you should not receive DVT treatment:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You have a history of bleeding disorders like hemophilia.
  • You have active cancer.
  • You have an infection in your leg (such as cellulitis).
  • Your doctor has not recommended that you get treated for DVT.
Summary: People with minor or no symptoms of DVT are not eligible for the treatment

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Following treatment, you should:

  • Avoid smoking or secondhand smoke. If you smoke, stop immediately. Also, avoid using cigars and pipes; these products have been shown to increase the risk of blood clots in some people.
  • Stop drinking alcohol if possible (you may want to wait until after surgery). Alcohol has been linked with increased clotting tendencies in healthy individuals and those with underlying cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease or stroke, so patients must refrain from consuming any alcohol at all for at least two weeks following their first DVT treatment session.
  • Stop using estrogen-based birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. These can increase the risk of blood clots.
  • Eating a healthy diet is crucial because it can substantially decrease your risk of forming blood clots in the future. Avoid foods high in saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol (found in fatty cuts of meat and full-fat dairy products). Switch to healthier options like fish, poultry, nuts, and seeds.
  • Incorporate light exercise into your daily routine as it keeps you active and helps blood circulation.
Summary- Post-treatment guidelines for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) include: taking a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight and doing exercises.

What can happen if a Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is not treated?

If a DVT is not treated, it can cause blood clots to break off and travel through the bloodstream. These clothing materials can block smaller blood vessels, like your lungs. This is called pulmonary embolism (PE). If you have PE, it's serious because it may lead to death or permanent disability.

What are the side effects of Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatments?

Side-effects of DVT treatments are rare and can be mild or even temporary. Some side effects may be severe, however. Severe side effects include:

  • Infection.
  • Bleeding from a wound in your leg (aphesis) or other places where you have been treated for DVT.
  • Damage to nerves that control movement in your legs (neuropathy).
Summary- The side effects of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) are: infection, bleeding and injury.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) - Outlook / Prognosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis is frequently a chronic condition accompanied by lots of pain and discomfort, therefore it's crucial to undergo a surgical procedure if no medication or hormonal therapy is working for you. You might experience symptoms like leg pain, swelling, soreness and cramps. Various alternatives used to treat DVT are medication, compression stockings, and surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does deep vein thrombosis feel like?

DVT causes leg pain or discomfort that may feel like a ripped muscle, tightness, cramping, or swelling.

What are the warning signs of deep vein thrombosis?

The warning signs for DVT include:
  • Experiencing throbbing pain or cramps and swelling in one leg (rarely both legs).
  • Warmer skin around the affected area.
  • Red or discolored skin around the affected area.
  • Swollen veins.

What does deep vein thrombosis look like?

It may cause a change in skin color on the affected leg — such as red or purple, depending on your skin color, along with soreness and swelling.

Where does deep vein thrombosis most frequently occur?

DVTs primarily can form in your lower leg, thigh or pelvis, although they also develop in other body parts, such as your arm, brain, intestines, liver, or kidney.

How to avoid deep vein thrombosis while flying?

  • Move around or walk in the aisle when allowed.
  • Don’t cross your legs while sitting.
  • Don’t wear tight clothes that restrict blood flow.
  • Stay hydrated, and strictly avoid alcohol before and after travel.
  • Stretch your legs and feet while sitting.

Is deep vein thrombosis a blood clot?

Yes, it is.

Can you massage deep vein thrombosis?

Refrain from massaging your legs if you are getting treated for DVT. Massaging could cause the clot to break loose.

Is deep vein thrombosis genetic?

Yes, sometimes deep vein thrombosis can be caused by genetic risk factors.

Is deep vein thrombosis life-threatening?

DVT, in its early stage, is not life-threatening. Although if left untreated for long, it may lead to Pulmonary Embolism, which may be fatal.

Is the pain associated with DVT persistent?

The pain occurs frequently, but not constantly.


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Written ByDr. Goma Bali Bajaj Diploma in geriatric,MBBS,MEM,Diploma In GeriatricGeneral Physician
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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