Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be a serious condition that occurs when blood stops, or clots, in the deep veins of the body. While DVT typically occurs in the lower leg, it can also present in other parts of the body.

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What are the symptoms?

The symptoms depend on the area of concern. The most common site for a DVT is in the lower leg. This normally presents as sudden onset of calf pain, swelling and warmth over the affected area. There may be a discolouration of the lower leg and foot.

What causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

DVT is caused by the blood clotting in the deep veins of your body. This clotting most commonly occurs due to reduced mobility, such as that experienced post-surgery or when on a long-haul flight.

What treatment options are available?

The treatment depends on the whether the DVT is located below the groin, or above in the major vessels. The most common DVT is below the groin level and is treated with compression stockings and blood thinners. Thinning of the blood reduces the risk of the clot moving and involving the lungs. In some cases, a small amount of clot will remain, or there may be long-term scarring of the vein.

In cases that extend above the groin we try and dissolve the clot. This is done by placing a catheter into the vein at the groin, crossing the clot and infusing chemicals to dissolve it. These patients will still need to be on blood thinners after the procedure for three to six months.


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