Everything You Need to Know About Deep Vein Thrombosis
Cardiac Surgery |
by Dr. Manoj Kumar Daga | Published on 01/05/2023
What is deep vein thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is one of the most serious medical conditions in which there is a formation of a blood clot in a deep vein inside your body. It means that a blood clot is transformed into a solid state. It is generally formed in your lower leg or thigh. However, it can also develop in other parts of your body. The condition is also known by its different names such as thromboembolism, post-thrombotic syndrome, and postphlebitic syndrome.
How common is deep vein thrombosis?
According to studies, it is found that deep vein thrombosis is among the third most common vascular illnesses behind heart attacks and strokes. It affects every age group but is more common in adults who are over 60 years of age.
How to identify deep vein thrombosis symptoms?
Deep vein thrombosis or DVT generally occurs in the lower leg or arms veins. Studies suggest that around 30% of people don’t experience any symptoms. They are often mild and don’t cause any serious risk. However, in serious cases, the following are the deep vein thrombosis symptoms:
- Arm or leg swelling
- Tenderness and pain in the leg or arm
- Swollen leg or arm might feel warmer than normal
- Severe abdominal pain in the abdomen
- Severe headaches or even seizures
There are people who don’t even notice that they have a DVT until the clot begins moving from the leg or arm and travels to the lung. The symptoms of acute DVT include:
- Shortness of breathiness
- Chest pain
It is vital to get in touch with the doctor immediately or visit the emergency room if acute DVT symptoms are experienced. It is recommended not to overlook the symptoms to avoid the probability of complications.
What are the main causes of deep vein thrombosis?
There is a wide range of conditions causing DVT. Here are some of the main deep vein thrombosis causes:
- Inherited conditions enhance the risk of blood clotting
- Cancer and its treatments like chemotherapy
- History of deep vein thrombosis in the family
- Restricted blood flow due to injury, immobilization, or surgery
- Sedentary lifestyle such as not moving from one place for long hours like sitting in a bus, train, etc.
- An autoimmune disease such as inflammatory bowel syndrome
- Tobacco products usage
- Varicose veins
- Hormonal therapy or taking birth control pills
What are the complications of deep vein thrombosis?
If deep vein thrombosis even after diagnosis is left untreated, it can pose some serious complications such as:
- Chest pain
- Fast breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Coughing blood
What is the process for deep vein thrombosis diagnosis?
To begin the process of deep vein thrombosis diagnosis, the doctor will initiate a physical examination and review the medical history. Further, there are certain imaging tests that are ordered to confirm the diagnosis:
- Duplex venous ultrasound- The use of ultrasound waves helps in reflecting the blood flow and blood clots in the veins
- Venography- By injecting the special dye into the veins through a catheter, the doctor can see if any blood clot is blocking the blood flow partially or completely
- Magnetic resource imaging or MRI- It displays images and body parts and organs. The doctor can view veins easily with this test in the patient’s body
- Computed tomography or CT scan- It is an X-ray type that displays the body structures inside the body. Healthcare professionals use CT scans to identify DVT in the abdomen, brain, and pelvis, including blood clots in the lungs.
What are the options for deep vein thrombosis treatment?
The primary aim of deep vein thrombosis treatment involves:
- Avert the clot from getting bigger
- Averting the clot from breaking loose and traveling to the lungs
- Eliminate the probability of developing DVT
Here is the usually recommended deep vein thrombosis treatment options:
- Blood thinners- Also known as anticoagulants, blood thinners are helpful in preventing blood clots from getting bigger. It also benefits in eliminating the probability of growing more clots
- Clot busters- Also known as thrombolytics which are used to treat more serious types of DVT, and when other medications aren’t working well
- Filters- If the patient is unable to take medicines for blood thinning, then the doctor will involve placing a filter into a large vein in the abdomen. It helps to avert clotting that breaks loose from lungs lodgings
- Support stockings- Also known as compression stockings, they are recommended as it helps in preventing blood from pooling in the legs. Chances of leg swelling also reduce with this option
If you are diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, remember that you're not the only one. As per researchers, it is discovered that every year around one million people experience this condition. Different treatment options for DVT are available. The healthcare provider can modify the treatment according to your situation. Make sure to take the medications according to the prescription and don’t miss the follow-up appointments. If you are looking for the best treatment options, then get in touch with BM Birla Heart Research Centre, the only cardiac care and related healthcare services across the eastern region.
How to prevent deep vein thrombosis when flying?
You can prevent deep vein thrombosis when flying by standing, walking, stretching, or wearing compression stockings.
Is there a cure for deep vein thrombosis?
Yes, deep vein thrombosis is curable and treatable if diagnosed early.
Is deep vein thrombosis serious?
Yes, deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition as a blood clot can break off into the bloodstream
Is deep vein thrombosis hereditary?
Yes, deep vein thrombosis is a hereditary condition
Can deep vein thrombosis cause a stroke?
No, deep vein thrombosis doesn’t cause a heart attack or a stroke.