Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is DVT?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of blood clot within a deep vein, most commonly in the leg or pelvis but can occur elsewhere in the body. Contrary to superficial veins that can be visible beneath the skin and may result in varicose veins, the deep veins are larger in caliber and located within the muscles. Deep Vein Thrombosis is usually the result of an underlying condition or risk factor and may cause pain, swelling or skin discoloration, but often occurs without giving noticeable symptoms (silent DVT).
Why does DVT occur and what are the consequences if left untreated?
Blood clots may form when something obstructs, slows or changes the blood flow in the vein. Stagnation or thickening of blood can lead to thrombosis. The longer the period of blood pooling or hypercoagulability, the more likely is blood clotting. A DVT may resolve spontaneously, as the thrombosis is dissolved by natural process or progress causing serious complication. Regardless of the cause, DVT can be particularly dangerous if left untreated. There is a risk that the thrombosis can become dislodged from the deep vein and move through the main veins and heart to lodge in the lungs becoming a potentially fatal Pulmonary Embolism (PE). When symptoms are present, they can be common and vary depending on how much of your lung is involved, the size of the clots, or presence of other heart or lung conditions. If chest pain, shortness of breath, cough, lightheadedness, fast heart rate or faint is present immediate medical attention is required.
The thrombosis can also cause chronic blockage in deep venous system resulting in permanent valves damage and subsequently leading to long lasting swelling and skin changes at the ankle site (Postthrombotic Syndrome - PTS).
Early evaluation and diagnosis by a qualified medical professional such as Dr. Marek Sepiolo are of the utmost importance to the successful treatment of DVT.
What are the risk factors for DVT?
You are more likely to develop DVT if you have any of the following conditions:
- Previous history of DVT or PE
- Recent major surgery (especially hip, knee or pelvic operations)
- Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
- Some blood diseases (hypercoagulability states, polycythemia vera)
- Varicose veins
- Cigarette smoking
- Heart failure
- Pelvis or leg fracture plus long bed rest
The risk of DVT insident increases with number of risks factors.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment
There are several options for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis. It may include conservative or interventional therapy. You will be guided through your treatment upon a thorough evaluation by your vein expert.