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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Most deep vein clots occur in the lower leg or thigh. They also can occur in other parts of the body.
A blood clot in a deep vein can break off and travel through the bloodstream. The loose clot is called an embolus. When the clot travels to the lungs and blocks blood flow, the condition is called pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a very serious condition that can cause death. Blood clots in the thigh are usually more likely to break off and cause pulmonary embolism than clots in the lower leg or other parts of the body.
Blood clots also can form in veins closer to the skin's surface. However, these clots won't break off and cause PE.
Only about half of the people with deep vein thrombosis have symptoms, which may include:
The most common tests used to diagnose DVT are: