Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep inside a part of the body. It mainly affects the large veins in the lower leg and thigh.
The deep vein is evaluated every time we work a patient up for vein disease. At Bunker Vein & Imaging Center, we offer this evaluation on an emergent basis for those patients with a presentation that suggests an ACUTE clot (thrombus) in their deep vein, often presenting to their physician with complaints of acute onset of pain, swelling, tenderness or redness in the calf area.
These symptoms have usually prompted physicians to send their patients to a local Emergency Room, where the ultimate testing and subsequent interpretation may take several hours. We offer this service to our referring physicians with a turn around time of usually less than an hour.
From MedLine Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health:
DVTs are most common in adults over age 60. However, they can occur at any age. When a clot breaks off and moves through the bloodstream, this is called an embolism. An embolism can get stuck in the brain, lungs, heart, or other area, leading to severe damage.
Blood clots may form when something slows or changes the flow of blood in the veins. Risk factors include:
- A pacemaker catheter that has been passed through the vein in the groin
- Bed rest
- Family history of blood clots
- Fractures in the pelvis or legs
- Giving birth within the last 6 months
- Recent surgery (most commonly hip, knee, or female pelvic surgery)
- Too many blood cells being made by the bone marrow, causing the blood to be thicker than normal
Blood is more likely to clot in someone who has certain problems or disorders, such as:
- Certain autoimmune disorders, such as lupus
- Cigarette smoking
- Conditions in which you are more likely to develop blood clots
- Taking estrogens or birth control pills (this risk is even higher if you smoke)
Sitting for long periods when traveling can increase the risk of DVTs. This is most likely when you also have one or more of the risk factors listed above.
DVT mainly affects the large veins in the lower leg and thigh, almost always on one side of the body. The clot can block blood flow and cause:
- Changes in skin color (redness)
- Leg pain
- Leg swelling (edema)
- Skin that feels warm to the touch
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam. The exam may show a red, swollen, or tender leg.
The two tests that are often done first to diagnose a DVT are:
- D-dimer blood test
- Doppler ultrasound exam of the legs
If you have symptoms of DVT, call Bunker Vein (512) 726-0599 or contact us online to request an appointment for a free screening.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have DVT and you develop:
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Other severe symptoms