Deep venous thrombosis is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people. This is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the body, usually in the thigh, leg, and — rarely — the arm. The blood clot can break off and travel inside the vein to the lung, causing death. This is called pulmonary embolism (PE).
There are several risk factors responsible for deep venous thrombosis. These include:
- Injury to the blood vessel (for example, from fractures, severe muscle injury, major surgery of the hip, pelvis, abdomen, or legs)
- Slow movement of the blood within the vein (especially immobility after surgery or a fracture, or while recovering from a medical condition or stroke)
- Increased likelihood of clotting of the blood within the vein (for example, certain birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, pregnancy and for several months after giving birth, absence of certain inherited factors in the blood)
Many other conditions predispose a person to deep venous thrombosis, such as cancer and its treatment, inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, a previous episode of deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism or a family history of DVT or PE, dehydration, family history of DVT or PE, obesity, catheter in a vein.
Symptoms of DVT
There is pain, a feeling of tightness, and swelling in the limb that is not relieved by normal painkillers.
Diagnosis is usually done with the help of a special kind of ultrasound (duplex) examination.
Treatment is mainly anticoagulation medicines, are taken orally or even in an injectable form. Medical-grade compression stockings should be worn to prevent incidence of complications related to the deep venous thrombosis. The blood clot is dissolved by the enzymes present in the blood over several months.
Newer modalities of treatment — including clot-busting medications, mechanical suction, catheter-directed thrombolysis, and thrombectomy — are available now.