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Deep Vein Thrombosis

(DVT; Thrombophlebitis)

Definition

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a vein deep in the body. Veins are blood vessels with valves that help prevent backward blood flow. Blood is pushed through the veins in legs and arms when muscles contract.
Deposits of red blood cells and clotting elements in the blood can build up in a vein. This build up leads to a blood clot. Clots usually occur in the legs, but can occur in other locations. As the clot grows, it blocks blood flow in the vein.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
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Causes

Several factors contribute to clot formation, including:

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of DVT include:

Symptoms

Symptoms occur when:
Some may not have any symptoms until the clot moves to the lungs. This condition is called pulmonary embolism .
Symptoms of DVT may include:

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Treatment

The treatment goals are to:
Treatment options include:

Supportive Care

This may include:
  • Resting in bed when necessary
  • Elevating the affected limb above the heart
  • Wearing compression stockings as advised by your doctor

Medications

Blood thinners are used to prevent additional clots from forming. These may be given by injection or by mouth. This treatment may be continued long-term.

Surgery

In some cases, a filter may be placed in the inferior vena cava. The vena cava is a major vein. Blood from the lower body returns to the heart through this vein. The filter may trap a clot that breaks loose before it travels to the lungs.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of DVT:
If you are admitted to the hospital:

RESOURCES

American Heart Association http://www.heart.org

American Venous Forum http://veinforum.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Buller HR, Agnelli G, et al. Antithrombotic therapy for venous thromboembolic disease: the Seventh ACCP Conference on Antithrombotic and Thrombolytic Therapy. Chest. 2004;126(suppl 3):401S-428S.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 2, 2013. Accessed May 7, 2013.

Geerts WH, Pineo GF, et al. Prevention of venous thromboembolism: the Seventh ACCP Conference on Antithrombotic and Thrombolytic Therapy. Chest. 2004;126(suppl 3):338S-400S.

Ramzi DW, Leeper KV. DVT and pulmonary embolism: Part I. Diagnosis. Am Fam Physician. 2004;69(12):2829-2836.

Ramzi DW, Leeper KV. DVT and pulmonary embolism: Part II. Treatment and prevention. Am Fam Physician. 2004;69(12):2841-2848.

Segal JB. Streiff MB. Hoffman LV. Thornton K. Bass EB. Management of venous thromboembolism: a systematic review for a practice guideline. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(3):211-222.

10/27/2006 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Junger M, Diehm C, et al. Mobilization versus immobilization in the treatment of acute proximal deep venous thrombosis: a prospective, randomized, open, multicentre trial. Curr Med Res Opin. 2006;22:593-602.

5/11/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bezemer ID, van der Meer FJ, et al. The value of family history as a risk indicator for venous thrombosis. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:610-615.

6/4/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Bahl V, Hu HM, et al. A validation study of a retrospective venous thromboembolism risk scoring method. Ann Surg. 2010;251(2):344-350.

10/5/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Parker C, Coupland C, et al. Antipsychotic drugs and risk of venous thromboembolism: nested case-control study. BMJ. 2010;341:c4245.

7/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Tepper NK, Boulet SL, et al. Postpartum venous thromboembolism: incidence and risk factors. Obstet Gynecol. 2014 May;123(5):978-996.

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