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Deep Venous Thrombosis:

Deep venous thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein that is deep inside the body, typically in the legs. This is a serious condition because of the risk of a pulmonary embolus, where a piece of the clot can dislodge and travel to the lung causing difficulty in breathing and even sudden death.

Risks for DVT include:

  • Prolong bed rest
  • Family history
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral contraceptive medications (birth control pills)
  • Obesity
  • Recent surgery (brain, hip or knee surgery)
  • Long plane or car trip

Symptoms:

  • Sudden swelling of the arm or leg
  • Pain or aching of the leg or arm
  • Skin color changes

Diagnosis:

Deep Venous Thrombosis is usually diagnosed with an ultrasound test that is performed in the office. This test takes about 15 minutes to perform and is typically done in the doctor's office or the vascular lab.

Treatment:

Treatment for deep venous thrombosis involves "thinning the blood" with medications such as Heparin and Coumadin. These medications prevent the clot from getting larger and from breaking off.  You doctor will decide on the dose and length of time you will stay on the medication. Typically patients will have to continue these medications for several months.

If the patient is unable to take a blood thinning medication or the medication is not effectively working, a filter can be placed in the inferior vena cave to catch any pieces of clot that may break off before they reach the lungs.

Minimally invasive thrmobectomy and thrombolysis- This procedure is reserved for patient that have severe leg swelling and symptoms. A catheter is placed in the vein and the clot is broken down with a spinning wire, similar to a rotor rooter machine that is used to clear clogged pipes.

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