Deep Vein Thrombosis: DVT
DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis. This is a blood clot, also called a thrombus, which develops in a deep vein in the body. A DVT is considered a life-threatening condition and requires urgent evaluation and treatment.
The lower leg below the knee is the most common place for a DVT to develop. There are different symptoms of a DVT but most people describe pain, swelling, heat, or redness in the affected part of the body. The symptoms worsen and do not improve on their own. The blood clot has could break free and travel through the veins up towards the heart, lungs, or brain. When this occurs, people have chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or sudden death.
Anyone can develop a DVT. However, certain conditions are more likely to cause them including pregnancy, surgery, bedbound status, recent travel over long distances in a car or airplane, or injury from a fracture or sprain. Other people may have a hypercoagulable state which means the blood thickens and causes blood clots more frequently even without any obvious cause. Others may have a family history of blood clots.
If you have a possible DVT or blood clot, call 911 or go immediately to the nearest emergency department. A full workup including ultrasound and bloodwork is required in order to prevent life-threatening complications.