DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) – Causes and Treatment
Have you been experiencing swelling or pain in your legs? Are you wondering if you are at risk of deep vein thrombosis? Though deep vein thrombosis is not dangerous itself, it could lead to a potentially life-threatening situation. As your top vascular specialists in the Prescott area, we will explore all there is to know about this condition, including:
- Risk factors
- Signs and symptoms
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also called deep venous thrombosis, occurs when there is a development of a blood clot within a vein deep in the body. The blood clot can partially or fully block the vein causing obstructed blood flow to certain areas. These blood clots most commonly occur in the lower leg, the thigh, or the pelvis area.
Is DVT an Emergency?
If left untreated, the blood clot that causes DVT can potentially become an emergency. If the clot becomes dislodged, it can travel through the bloodstream toward the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening event. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 right away:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
Other Complications Related to DVT
An untreated DVT can be the catalyst for other uncomfortable complications. Venous insufficiency is a condition caused by a decrease in blood flow. The blood clot from DVT can create a backflow and a pooling of blood in the leg veins. The excess blood in the vein will cause it to stretch, swell, and become painful.
What Causes DVT?
A blood clot can form in the deep vein of the leg from improper blood circulation, which can be attributed to:
- An injury affecting a vein
- A recent surgery with increased bed rest or inactivity
- Lack of physical movement or being sedentary
- Certain medications with this side effect
What Are the Risk Factors for DVT?
Review these risk factors and have a discussion with us if you feel you may be at risk for DVT.
- If you are overweight
- If you are 40 years old or older
- If you have a family history of blood-clotting disorders
- If you smoke
- If you take birth control or are on a hormone therapy regimen
- If you have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy
- If you are pregnant or within 6 weeks postpartum
- If you have a central venous catheter or a pacemaker implanted
- If you sit or are inactive for long periods, such as periods of travel or recuperating from surgery
Signs and Symptoms of DVT
If you feel you are at risk for DVT and are experiencing any of these symptoms, we urge you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with our vascular physicians. Symptoms of DVT can include:
- Swelling in the leg
- Pain in the leg, such as cramping or soreness
- Tenderness in the leg
- Warm and reddened skin of the leg
- Discoloration in the leg
Treatment for DVT
Treatment for DVT may include anticoagulation medications, also known as blood thinners to help dissolve the blood clot. Elevating the affected leg will help decrease the pressure and blood flow around the affected vein. Compression stockings provide a tight compression starting from the lower leg and loosen as it covers up to the knee. The upward pressure helps to relieve swelling and discomfort in the leg. If these treatments do not resolve the issue, the blood clot is too large or is at risk of dislodging, then we will recommend one of the following outpatient procedures:
Inferior Vena Cava Filter (IVC) Placement
This procedure involves a metal device that is inserted into the inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries blood to the heart. The IVC will trap any blood clots that get dislodged and prevent them from entering the heart or the lungs.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Thrombectomy Treatment
Under the care of our expert interventional radiologist, our first goal is to identify the location of the clot. We do this using X-ray imaging, an MRI or CT scan, or a DVT ultrasound. At the site of the clot, the interventional radiologist will enter the vein to remove the blood clot.
We Are Here To Give You The Best Care
Understandably, DVT can be a worrisome condition to have. Our physicians are highly skilled in the intricate procedures that will provide you with the relief and improved health that you need. If you are experiencing any symptoms, have a family history of blood clots, or any other risk factors, call us to schedule an appointment. A thorough examination will help us to determine the best treatment for you and get your health back on track.