Deep Vein Thrombosis
Venous thrombosis is when blood clots form in the veins preventing proper blood flow.
There are two types of thrombosis:
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Superficial Vein Thrombosis (SVT).
Both are serious! However, 50% of DVT cases are life-threatening. Proper diagnosis and quick treatment are key and subsequently, you should seek treatment with Dr. Perlmutter without delay.
Difference between SVT and DVT
SVT is a blood clot in the superficial veins just under the surface of the skin in the leg.
Symptoms are most often swelling, pain, and feeling a hard lump along the course of the vein. Support hose is a must when diagnosed with SVT. Depending on the size and location treatment can vary and, in some cases, the clot reabsorbs on its own. The only diagnostic tool to confirm SVT is Venous Ultrasound.
While it is not life-threatening, an SVT should not be ignored. Left untreated, an SVT can become a DVT in 65% of patients.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when a blood clot develops in a vein deep in the leg within the muscles. The clot may partially or completely block blood flow through the vein. Treatment is paramount and typically involves diagnosis with a Venous Ultrasound, anticoagulant medications, and wearing a compression hose. Depending on severity patients with DVT may have to be hospitalized.
A DVT may happen without symptoms (i.e. pain and or swelling in the leg). Left untreated a DVT can soon become a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) which can turn deadly if the clot travels to your lungs.
What causes a DVT?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is more serious and life-threatening in some cases. DVT can be hereditary or can occur due to pregnancy, vein trauma like a sports-related injury, oral contraceptives, or long periods of inactivity. DVT and SVT commonly occur in the lower extremities.
- Swelling in the affected leg
- Cramping or sore, painful feeling in the leg
However, deep vein thrombosis can occur for some without any noticeable symptoms, so when it becomes apparent, it’s crucial to see a vein specialist to treat the condition before it progresses to be life-threatening. Because deep vein thrombosis is blood clots in the veins, it can break free and cause a pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening blood clot in the lung.
- Overweight or obesity
- Blood clotting disorder
- Age over 60 years
- A long period of not moving, for example, when in the hospital or on a long trip
- Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Certain diseases and conditions, such as:
- Previous blood clot
- Varicose veins
- Heart problems, such as heart failure, or heart attack
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Lupus, a disease of the immune system
- Cancer and some cancer treatments
- Having a central venous catheter, for example, in a large vein in the chest
The best way to lessen your chances of SVT or DVT from forming is to get plenty of exercise and not spend much of your day sitting. If you sit at a desk for much of the day, frequent breaks for movement are encouraged.
Treatment for DVT or SVT, where the goal is to safely eliminate blood clots, Dr. Perlmutter may recommend anti-clotting medication and support stockings to combat the formation of any new blood clots in your leg(s).