What you need to know about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What is DVT?

Deep Vein Thrombosis, also known as venous thrombosis, happens when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg.  The blood clot can block all or some of the blood flow in that vein, resulting in chronic leg pain or ulcers which may lead to leg amputation.  If the blood clot moves through the blood to the lungs, it could become a pulmonary embolism, which may result in death. 


Signs & Symptoms of DVT:

  • Sudden swelling of your leg or arm

  • Pain or tenderness in your leg or arm 

  • Red or discolored skin


Risk Factors:

  • Recent surgery

  • Trauma/injury

  • Prolonged immobility

  • Cancer

  • History of DVT

  • Smoking

  •  Pregnancy

  • Obesity



The most reliable and easiest test to determine the presence of a blood clot is the venous Duplex ultrasound.  A venous Duplex is a non-invasive ultrasound of the veins in the legs and/or arms.  This test involves only minimal discomfort and takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete.



If you are diagnosed with DVT, you will most likely be given a type of medication called a blood thinner.  This medicine helps to stop the clots from getting bigger and helps to prevent additional clots from forming.  Sometimes a procedure called a thrombectomy, an invasive procedure to remove the clot, may be appropriate, but your doctor will help to determine if you are a candidate for that procedure.


Remember, if you have any concerns at all about DVT, talk with your doctor.