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Treatment Deep Vein Thrombosis

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.

Symptoms

Only about half of the people with deep vein thrombosis have symptoms, which may include:

  • Swollen area of the leg.
  • Pain or tenderness in the leg. The pain is usually in one leg and may be felt only when standing or walking.
  • Increased warmth in the area of the leg that is swollen or in pain.
  • Red or discolored skin.

Diagnosis

The most common tests used to diagnose DVT are:

  • Ultrasound. This is the most common test for diagnosing deep vein blood clots. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of blood flowing through the arteries and veins in the affected leg.
  • A D-dimer test. This test measures a substance in the blood that's released when a blood clot dissolves. If the test shows high levels of the substance, you may have a deep vein blood clot. If your test is normal and you have few risk factors, DVT isn't likely.
  • Venography. This test is used if ultrasound doesn't provide a clear diagnosis. Dye is injected into a vein, and then an x ray is taken of the leg. The dye makes the vein visible on the x ray. The x ray will show whether blood flow is slow in the vein. This may indicate a blood clot.

 

Source

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, USA.