Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT?

Deep vein thrombus is a condition that can be life threatening. DVT kills more Americans than AIDS, Breast Cancer and all motor vehicle accidents combined.

Deep venous thrombosis, commonly referred to as DVT, occurs when blood thickens and clumps together and forms a clot, or thrombus, in deep veins, most frequently, of the legs. These clots impede blood flow and in some cases may completely block the vein causing swelling, aching, warmth and redness. Aside from the pain and discomfort that can accompany DVT, is the possibility that the clot, or thrombus, breaking loose and traveling through the body lodging in your lung. When this happens, it is called a pulmonary embolism, which is a serious, life threatening event.

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

There are four common symptoms of DVT, but it is important to note that people who have DVT in their upper leg may be symptom free. Lower leg DVT is more commonly symptomatic. The symptoms are:

  • Pain or tenderness when standing or walking
  • Swelling of the leg or along a vein in the leg
  • Warmth in the area of the leg that’s swollen or painful
  • Red or discolored skin on the leg

Deep vein thrombosis can be caused by external or internal factors such as injury, hormones, activity level, trauma, cancer and hereditary factors such as blood disorders and clotting disorders.
  • Medications, Hormones or Conditions that make your blood thicker or more likely to clot than normal due to medications.
  • Injury to a deep vein from surgery, a broken bone, or other trauma.
  • Stagnant blood flow in a deep vein due to lack of movement which may occur during a long illness, or sitting in one place for a long time. This is the reason we are always reminded to get up and walk around on long plane trips.
  • Pregnancy and the first 6 weeks after giving birth
  • Cancer
  • A central venous catheter, a tube placed in a vein to allow easy access, for IV treatment
  • Being older than 60 is a risk factor, although DVT can occur at any age
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Smoking

Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT

How Big are Blood Clots?  Depending on the size and severity the Surgeons at University Surgical Vascular can perform clot removal and the placement of a filter to catch any clot that may travel.

There are a variety of medical and minimally invasive surgical treatments for DVT. Frequently, oral medication that thins the blood for 3-6 months, support hose and clinical follow with ultrasound is all that’s needed. NOAC (New Oral Anti-coagulant) drugs allow for treatment times to be reduced and show great promise as they don't require routine monitoring. In more severe cases, the surgeons at University Surgical Vascular perform venography with clot removal using minimally invasive techniques in the office setting. In some cases, our physicians place a special filter in your vein to keep clots from traveling to your heart and lungs.  During your initial office visit you will receive a complete explanation and treatment plan with recommendations specifically suited for your condition.