Deep Vein Thrombosis


Know the Facts

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): When blood clumps together and turns into solid material, it is called a blood clot. When the clot is in a deep vein, it is called a DVT. DVT usually occurs in the leg veins.

Pulmonary Embolism (PE): If the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, it causes a PE. These clots block blood flow to the lungs, which can be deadly.



DVT causes symptoms in only about half the people who develop this condition. Symptoms may include:

  • Swelling of the leg
  • Pain or tenderness in the leg
  • Increased warmth, swollen or painful area
  • Redness or discoloration of the skin in the swollen or painful area

DVT symptoms

Some people may not even know they have a DVT until it breaks off and travels to the lungs, causing a PE. This is an emergency situation requiring immediate medical help. Symptoms of PE may include:

  • Sharp chest pain when taking a deep breath
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bloody cough
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling of anxiety
  • Feeling faint or passing out


Blood normally flows continuously in arteries and veins. Blood can clot for different reasons. An injury to a vessel, sluggish blood flow or a condition that causes blood to clot easier can cause blood to clot abnormally.

There are many causes of DVT. These are just some.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for DVT are:

  • A previous episode of DVT or family history of DVT
  • Immobility, such as bed rest during hospitalization or at home
  • Pregnancy and the first few weeks after giving birth
  • A catheter (flexible tube) in the deep veins used for medical treatment
  • Surgery
  • Age (risk increases with age)
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Cancer and cancer treatment
  • Smoking any substance
  • Hormone therapy or birth control pills
  • Injuries from an accident
  • Some inherited blood disorders


Your health care provider will obtain your medical history and perform an examination. Diagnostic tests may include:

To determine if a DVT is present:

  • Duplex ultrasound: Noninvasive test uses high-frequency sound waves to measure blood flows through your veins and evaluate the presence of clot
  • D-dimer test: Measures a substance in the blood that when elevated may indicate an underlying blood clot

To determine if PE is present:

  • Computed tomographic angiography (CTPA): a special type of x-ray that uses contrast to look at the blood vessels in your lungs
  • Pulmonary V/Q scan: shows which part of your lung are getting airflow and blood flow

Treatment Options

  • Blood thinners: The standard treatment for DVT/PE is blood-thinning drugs for three to six months. In some situations, your health care provider may recommend lifelong treatment
  • Compression stockings: These are prescribed at the length and amount of compression best for you, and can be purchased at a surgical supply store. For more information
  • Thrombolytic therapy: For more information click HERE
  • Mechanical thrombectomy: For more information click HERE
  • Inferior vena cava filter: For more information click HERE


  • Chronic Venous Obstruction: For more information click HERE
  • Pulmonary Hypertension: For more information click HERE

Everyone is at risk for DVT and PE. Talk to your health care provider about your risk.


Overall, stay hydrated! Stay active! Maintain regular weight and live a healthy lifestyle. Recognizing individual risk and providing appropriate precautions is important. There are steps that can be taken to prevent DVT and PE during hospitalization or travel.

When hospitalized:

  • Know what your risk is for developing a DVT/PE. Take a risk assessment. Click HERE
  • Talk to your health care provider about your risk of DVT/PE and what can be done to help protect you
  • Get out of bed as soon as possible as your health care provider recommends. Walking reduces the chance of developing a blood clot
  • Take medicines (low-dose blood thinners) that your health care provider prescribes to prevent blood clots
  • Use compression boots while in bed as your health care provider directs. These boots squeeze your legs to promote blood flow in the veins and help prevent DVT

When traveling:

  • Know your risk of DVT/PE. Take a risk assessment. Click HERE
  • Walk up and down the aisles of the plane, bus or train. If traveling by car, stop about every two hours and walk around
  • Flex, stretch and move your legs and your feet to improve blood flow in your calves
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol
  • If you have risk factors for DVT, your health care provider may advise you to wear compression stockings while traveling
  • If you have had DVT or PE previously, you may be prescribed a blood-thinning medicine before traveling

Ask the Expert Video

Ask the Expert DVT Video

Know The Facts About DVT


For more information, or to make an appointment, please call 631-638-1670.