Symptoms & Causes
Deep Vein Thrombosis Symptoms
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) signs and symptoms could include:
Inflammation in the affected leg. Rarely, there's inflammation in both legs.
Pain in your leg. The pain usually begins in your calf and could feel like cramping or soreness.
Red or discolored skin on the leg.
Warm sensation in the affected leg
Deep vein thrombosis could happen without noticeable symptoms
When should you see a doctor?
If you develop signs or symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), contact your doctor or primary care physician.
If you develop signs or symptoms of a pulmonary embolism (PE) a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis look for emergency medical help.
The warning signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism involve:
Unexpected shortness of breath
Chest pain or discomfort that becomes worse when you take a deep breath or when you cough
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
Coughing up blood
Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes
Anything that stops your blood from flowing or clotting normally could cause a blood clot.
The main causes of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are damaged to a vein from surgery or trauma and swelling due to infection or injury.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Risk factors
Many things could increase your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The more risk factors you have, the greater your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) involve:
Age - Being older than 60 increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), though it could happen at any age.
Sitting for long periods of time, for example when driving or flying - When your legs remain still for hours, your calf muscles do not contract. Muscle contractions generally help blood circulate.
Continued bed rest, for example during a long hospital stay or paralysis - Blood clots could form in the calves of your legs if your calf muscles do not move for long periods.
Injury or surgery - Injury to your veins or surgery could increase the risk of blood clots.
Pregnancy - Pregnancy puts extra pressure on the veins of your pelvis and legs. Women with a hereditary clotting disorder are, particularly at risk. The risk of blood clots from pregnancy could continue for up to 6 weeks after you have your baby.
Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or hormone replacement therapy - Both could increase your blood's ability to clot.
Being overweight or obese - Being overweight puts more pressure on the veins of your pelvis and legs.
Smoking - Smoking affects blood clotting and circulation, which could increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Cancer - Some types of cancer increase substances in your blood that cause your blood to clot. Some types of cancer treatment also increase the risk of blood clots.
Heart failure - This increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. Because people with heart failure have limited heart and lung function, the symptoms caused by even a small pulmonary embolism are more observable.
Inflammatory bowel disease - Bowel diseases, for example, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
A personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) - If you or someone in your family has had one or both of these, you might be at greater risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Genetics - Some people inherit genetic risk factors or disorders, for example, factor V Leiden, that make their blood clot more easily. An inherited disorder on its own may not cause blood clots unless combined with one or more other risk factors.
No known risk factor - Sometimes, a blood clot in a vein could happen with no apparent underlying risk factor. This is known as unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Deep Vein Thrombosis Complications
Complications of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) could include:
Pulmonary embolism (PE) - Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a potentially life-threatening complication related to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It happens when a blood vessel in your lung becomes blocked by a blood clot or thrombus that travels to your lung from another part of your body, generally your leg.
It is crucial to get immediate medical help if you have signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism (PE). Unexpected shortness of breath, chest pain while inhaling or coughing, rapid breathing, rapid pulse, feeling faint or fainting, and coughing up blood might happen with a pulmonary embolism (PE).
Postphlebitic syndrome - Damage to your veins from the blood clot lowers blood flow in the affected regions, causing leg pain and inflammation, skin discoloration, and skin sores.
Treatment complications - Complications might result from blood thinners used to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVTs). Bleeding or hemorrhage is a worrisome side effect of blood thinners. It is crucial to have regular blood tests while taking such medications.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Prevention
Measures to stop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) include the following:
Circumvent sitting still - If you have undergone surgery or have been bedridden for other reasons, try moving as soon as possible. If you are sitting for a while, do not cross your legs, which could block blood flow. If you are traveling a long distance by car, halt every hour or so and walk around.
If you are on a plane, get up or walk every now and then. If you are unable to do this, exercise your lower legs. Try raising and lowering your heels while keeping your feet on the floor, then raising your toes with your heels on the floor.
Do not smoke - Smoking increases your risk of getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Exercise and manage your weight - Obesity is a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Regular exercise reduces your risk of blood clots, which is particularly crucial for people who sit a lot or travel frequently.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Diagnosis
To diagnose deep vein thrombosis (DVT), your primary care physician will ask you about your symptoms. You will also have a physical examination so that your primary care physician could check for areas of inflammation, tenderness or changes in skin color.
The tests you have depend on whether your primary care physician thinks you are at a low or a high risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Tests used to diagnose or rule out a blood clot involve:
D-dimer blood test - D dimer is a form of protein produced by blood clots. Almost all people with serious deep vein thrombosis (DVT) have increased blood levels of D dimer. A normal result on a D-dimer test usually could help rule out pulmonary embolism (PE).
Duplex ultrasound - This non-invasive test uses sound waves to create images of how blood flows through your veins. It is the standard test for diagnosing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). For the test, a technician gently moves a small hand-held device or transducer on your skin over the body region being studied. Sometimes a series of ultrasounds are done over various days to determine whether a blood clot is growing or to check for a new one.
Venography - A dye is administered into a large vein in your foot or ankle. An X-ray creates a picture of the veins in your legs and feet, to look for clots. The test is invasive, so it is rarely performed. Other tests, for example, ultrasound, usually are done first.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan - This test might be done to diagnose deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in veins of the abdomen.
Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment
There are 3 main goals to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatment.
Stop the clot from getting bigger.
Stop the clot from detaching and traveling toward the lungs.
Lower your chances of another deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatment options include:
Blood thinners - Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is most commonly treated with anticoagulants, also known as blood thinners. These drugs do not break up existing blood clots, but they could stop clots from getting bigger and lower your risk of developing more clots.
Blood thinners might be taken by mouth or given by IV or an injection under the skin. Heparin is usually given by IV. The most commonly used injectable blood thinners for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are enoxaparin (Lovenox) and fondaparinux (Arixtra).
After taking an injectable blood thinner for a few days, your primary care physician might switch you to a pill. Instances or examples of blood thinners that you consume include warfarin (Jantoven) and dabigatran (Pradaxa).
Specific blood thinners do not need to be given first with IV or injection. These drugs or medicines are rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis) or edoxaban (Savaysa). They could be started immediately after diagnosis.
You may need to take blood thinner pills for 3 months or longer. It is important to take them exactly as prescribed to stop serious side effects.
If you take warfarin, you will require regular blood tests to check how long it takes your blood to clot. Pregnant women should not take specific blood-thinning medications.
Clot busters - Also known as thrombolytics, these drugs may be prescribed if you have a more severe type of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), or if other medications are not working.
These drugs are given either by IV or through a tube (catheter) implanted directly into the clot. Clot busters could cause severe bleeding, so they are usually only used for people with serious blood clots.
Filters -If you cannot take medicines to thin your blood, you may have a filter inserted into a large vein the vena cava in your stomach. A vena cava filter stops clots that break loose from lodging in your lungs.
Compression stockings - These special knee socks lower the chances that your blood will build-up and coagulate. To help stop inflammation related to deep vein thrombosis, wear them on your legs from your feet to about the level of your knees. You must wear these stockings during the day for at least 2 years, if possible.