DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT)
What is DVT?
Blood clots form in the legs after prolonged sluggish or static flow, when patient are either travelling long distances or remain bed-bound due to other medical conditions. Rare causes of blood clots include oral contraceptives, malignancy, inherited clotting disorders, and after recent orthopedic surgery.
What are the Signs/Symptoms of DVT?
Signs of a blood clot may include painful swelling and redness in one or both legs. Sometimes the affected leg may feel hot to the touch. In severe cases, complete obstruction of venous flow can lead to a serious condition which may result in limb loss (phlegmasia cerulean dolens).
How is a DVT Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is made with physical exam findings in conjunction with a venous ultrasound identifying the location and size of the clot obstructing venous return.
How are DVTs Treated?
Depending on the location, blood clots may be treated with blood thinners if they are small and located in small veins below the knees. For larger clots in large vessels and high symptom burden, they may require clot removal and dissolution with catheter based techniques. For patients who cannot tolerate blood thinners due to active bleeding, IVC filter placement will prevent further migration of larger clot burdens and reduce the likelihood of developing a pulmonary embolus.
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