Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your leg. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but may occur without any symptoms.

Deep vein thrombosis can develop if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis can also happen if you don't move for a long time, such as after surgery, following an accident, long haul air travel or when you are confined to a hospital or nursing home bed.

Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).

What you should know about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What is a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)?

A DVT is a blood clot in a vein, usually the lower leg or thigh. A DVT can potentially be dangerous. It is important to seek medical help if you suspect you may have a DVT.

What are the symptoms of a DVT?

  • Pain in the leg, usually throbbing or cramping.

  • Swelling - in the affected leg.

  • Changes in skin colour

  • Warmth - the area may be warm to touch.

Who is at risk of developing a DVT?

Poor blood flow and a history of clotting problems (increased tendency to clotting) are risk factors for developing a DVT.

Other risk factors include people who:

  • Take the oral contraceptive pill or HRT

  • Smoke

  • Have had a DVT before.

  • Are overweight

  • Over 60 yrs old

  • Have varicose veins

  • Have had major surgery

  • Are immobile, I.e confined to bed, taking long haul flights etc.

How can I prevent a DVT?

Maintaining a healthy life style can help to prevent the occurrence of a DVT, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise and quitting smoking. Those who are at high risk of developing a DVT may also be put on preventative measures by their doctor, such as medication (blood thinners) and compression stockings.

How is DVT diagnosed?

A DVT is diagnosed by history taking, physical examination and ultrasound.

How is a DVT treated?

  • Anti-coagulation - medication to thin the blood and prevent worsening of the clots, it can be given orally or by injection.

  • Compression stockings - improve blood flow, reduce pain and swelling in the leg.

  • Surgical procedure - involving inserting a small tube into the vein through which the clot is broken up and sucked out.

How can we help you?

Our doctors are professionally trained and experienced in managing DVT. We work with you to produce a treatment plan that suit your needs.