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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a major vein of the body and creates a blockage. Usually this occurs in the legs but DVT can also form in the arms or other veins throughout the body. If left untreated, the blockage can move to the lungs, restricting the flow of oxygen and causing a pulmonary embolism.

It is critical that DVT be diagnosed early so it is treated effectively.

Risk Factors

Factors that can increase the chances of developing DVT include:

  • Advanced age
  • Childbirth within the last 6 months
  • Extended bed rest or immobility
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Lung disease
  • Obesity
  • Previous DVT or family history of DVT
  • Previous or current cancer diagnosis
  • Recent surgery or trauma
  • Tobacco use

Symptoms

Deep Vein Thrombosis symptoms are most often pain and swelling in the leg or arm. The limb may be tender, warm or discolored. Unfortunately, many DVT symptoms are silent and only half of those with DVT experience classic symptoms.

DVT can progress to a pulmonary embolism, with symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and/or excessive sweating. You should get immediate care if you experience these symptoms.

Treatment

Deep Vein Thrombosis is diagnosed through a noninvasive ultrasound test and treatment is often done through blood thinners (anticoagulant therapy) when they are a safe option for the patient.

For more information or to make an appointment with the Vascular Center at UM BWMC, call 410-553-8300.