Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is the medical term for blood clots within the veins, usually within the legs. The term venous thromboembolism (VTE) is also frequently used, and in fact describes two conditions, DVT (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) or clots in the lungs. This term is used because the two conditions are very closely related. And, because their prevention and treatment are also closely related.
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot or thrombus in a deep vein. They are most common in the leg. But they may develop in the arm or other part of the body. Part of the clot, called an embolus, can break off and travel to the lungs (PE). This can cut off the flow of blood to all or part of the lung. PE is an emergency and may cause death.
DVT is extremely common, and affects up to 900,000 people in the US per year. There are several risk factors such as obesity, surgery, immobility, birth control pills, a family history of blood clots, varicose veins and cancer. However frequently no cause is found. Most people with DVT develop symptoms of pain, swelling, and redness in the leg, arm, or other area. Sometime DVT is symptomless. Over time the clots can resolve or complications can occur. The two most common complications of a blood clot are chronic venous insufficiency and post-thrombotic syndrome.
Along with a medical history and physical exam, your healthcare provider may do other tests including:
Specific treatment will be determined by your Vascular Interventional Radiologist specialized in venous disease based on:
The goal of treatments is are to prevent the clot from getting larger, to prevent a blood clot from traveling to the lungs (PE), to decrease the chance of another blood clot forming and to prevent development of PTS.
Treatment may include:
For an expert evaluation or to discuss any of these treatment options, please contact our expert Vascular Interventional Radiologists at (310) 481-7545