Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a vein deep in the body. Veins are blood vessels with valves that help prevent backward blood flow. Blood is pushed through the veins in legs and arms when muscles contract.
Deposits of red blood cells and clotting elements in the blood can build up in a vein. This build up leads to a blood clot. Clots usually occur in the legs, but can occur in other locations. As the clot grows, it blocks blood flow in the vein.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
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Several factors contribute to clot formation, including:
Factors that may increase your chance of DVT include:
Symptoms occur when:
Some may not have any symptoms until the clot moves to the lungs. This condition is called pulmonary embolism .
Symptoms of DVT may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
The treatment goals are to:
Treatment options include:
This may include:
Blood thinners are used to prevent additional clots from forming. These may be given by injection or by mouth. This treatment may be continued long-term.
In some cases, a filter may be placed in the inferior vena cava. The vena cava is a major vein. Blood from the lower body returns to the heart through this vein. The filter may trap a clot that breaks loose before it travels to the lungs.
To help reduce your chance of DVT:
If you are admitted to the hospital:
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 2, 2013. Accessed May 7, 2013.
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5/11/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bezemer ID, van der Meer FJ, et al. The value of family history as a risk indicator for venous thrombosis. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:610-615.
6/4/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bahl V, Hu HM, et al. A validation study of a retrospective venous thromboembolism risk scoring method. Ann Surg. 2010;251(2):344-350.
10/5/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Parker C, Coupland C, et al. Antipsychotic drugs and risk of venous thromboembolism: nested case-control study. BMJ. 2010;341:c4245.
7/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Tepper NK, Boulet SL, et al. Postpartum venous thromboembolism: incidence and risk factors. Obstet Gynecol. 2014 May;123(5):978-996.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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