Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What is a DVT (deep vein thrombosis)?

DVT (deep vein thrombosis) occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually your legs.  Certain medical conditions and medications can increase your risk of developing a DVT. It is important to seek medical attention if you have symptoms of a DVT.  Untreated DVT can lead to serious complications, such as PE (pulmonary embolism).

What are the signs and symptoms of DVT?

  • Swelling legs, usually just one leg (but can occur in other parts of your body, such as an arm)
  • Pain in your leg, usually starting in the calf and can feel like cramping or soreness
  • Red or discolored skin
  • Feels warm to the touch

What are the risk factors for DVT?

  • Age: older than 60 increases risk, but can occur at any age
  • Sitting for long periods of time, such as driving or flying
  • Prolonged bed rest, such as hospital stay
  • Injury or surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Family history of DVT or PE
  • Genetics

If you have any risk factors for DVT or expect to be on an airplane or in a vehicle for longer than 2 hours, wear knee high compression stockings, do calf pumps while seated and get up and walk around as much as possible.  Stay active!   

When do I see a doctor?

If you develop any signs or symptoms of a DVT, please contact your primary care physician or call WK VEIN SPECIALISTS at 318-212-VEIN

How is DVT diagnosed?

Most DVT are diagnosed with an ultrasound.  The ultrasound shows blood flow in the veins and any clot(s) that exist.

What are my treatment options?

Treatment plans are based on each individual patient.  Wearing knee high compression stockings, elevating your legs and regular exercise are a good start.  Typically, blood thinners are prescribed.  Some patients may require vena cava filter (IVC filter) placement to prevent the DVT from traveling to the heart or lungs and IVC filter removal later if needed.  While others may need thrombolysis (“clot buster”).