Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical condition in which blood clot forms in the deep veins such as lower leg, thigh or arm vein due decrease in the blood flow rate. This condition is dangerous when the clot breaks and travels to the lungs through the bloodstream that leads to a serious and life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism.

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What are the causes of DVT?

  • Injury to deep vein
  • Slowed blood flow
  • Inherited clotting disorder
  • Medications such as oral contraceptive pills

Who are at risk of developing DVT?

  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Standing/sitting in a place for long periods
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Pregnant or Lactating women
  • Estrogen supplements
  • Hospitalized patients
  • Smoking
  • History of the following :
  • Clotting disorder
  • Carcinoma
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Genetic conditions where Factor V Leiden is mutated
  • Neurological diseases like paralysis

What are the symptoms of DVT?

  • Swelling, pain or tenderness in the arm or leg
  • Warmth, redness or discolouration in the arm or leg
  • Enlarged veins
  • Leg cramps

What are the complications of DVT?

  • Pulmonary embolism: Requires medical attention.
  • Symptoms include :
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Haemoptysis
  • Postphlebitic syndrome: Common complication after Deep Vein Thrombosis.
  • Symptoms include:
  • Oedema
  • Skin discolouration
  • Ulcers
  • Pain or discomfort in legs
Healthy vein vs Varicose vein
Deep Vein Thrombosis vs normal

How is DVT diagnosed?

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Blood test: to check for clotting factor
  • Ultrasound: to check for clots
  • Venogram: During this test, a contrast dye is injected into vein and X-rays are taken for observing the presence of clots.

How DVT is treated?

  • Blood thinners such as anticoagulants (Heparin, warfarin, enoxaparin or fondaparinux) to dissolve the clot.
  • In severe conditions of DVT, thrombolytic agents (streptokinase, urokinase, tissue plasminogen activator) prescribed for breaking the clots through a catheter (Catheter-directed thrombolysis).
  • Surgery to remove the clot

Precautions for DVT:

  • Avoid over the counter drugs
  • Avoid aspirin or NSAIDs during anticoagulant therapy
  • Avoid usage of estrogen supplements

Lifestyle Modifications for DVT:

  • Lose weight
  • Avoid standing or sitting for a long duration
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise daily to reduce the risk of developing clots

Drink plenty of water

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