Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis
St. Louis Vein Experts - Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis

Nearly 2 million men and women are affected by Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) each year, and nearly 300,000 people will die from DVT annually. DVT is a life-threatening condition that arises when a vein that is deep inside of the body is obstructed by a blood clot. DVT is ordinarily found in the leg, typically in the calf muscle, but can be found anywhere in the body.

Deep vein thrombosis can be separated into two phases: acute and chronic. In the acute phase, there is a risk that the blood clot will travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Most treatments consist of anticoagulation, or blood thinners. In some cases, where acute DVT occurs in the major veins like the iliac veins or the vena cava, a treatment called catheter-directed thrombolysis, or clot busters, may be used to reopen the effected veins and re-establish blood flow. DVT in the chronic phase causes obstruction of flow from the legs to the heart and this can result in post-thrombotic syndrome. Chronically blocked deep veins that cause severe post-thrombotic syndrome can be treated with modern recanalization techniques. Recanalization reestablishes a channel within the blocked vein using catheters and wires, stretching the vein with balloons, also called angioplasty, and placing stents to keep the vein open.

Pulmonary Embolism (PE) can occur when the DVT is left untreated. PE can be deadly if the blood clot travels through the veins and blocks one of the major veins in the lungs.

Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS, also called post-phlebitic syndrome and venous stress disorder) occurs when the signs and symptoms of DVT occur long-term and when decreased circulation produces injury and scarring in the valves that regulate the one-way blood flow in leg veins.

Symptoms of DVT

  • Aches
  • Pains
  • Swelling (unusual and sudden)
  • Tenderness
  • Cramps
  • No symptoms at all

Symptom of Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS)

  • Pain (aching or cramping)
  • Heaviness
  • Itching or tingling
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Varicose veins
  • Brownish or reddish skin discoloration
  • Ulcer