Tuesday, December 01, 2009

DVT, Blood Clot, Deep Vein Thrombosis

Dangerous blood clots may develop unexpectedly within the deep veins of a lower leg.  Such clots can cause deadly complications when microscopic pieces break off and clog the circulation to distant parts of the body.  Clots that find their way into the brain, lungs, or heart may result in deadly or life-altering complications from stroke,  pulmonary embolus, or heart attack. 

Preventing a DVT is certainly much easier than curing the condition.  In hospitalized patients several methods are used to enhance the flow of blood to the lower legs.  First and foremost, being up and around as soon as possible, and as much as possible after surgery or while recovering from an illness is a major advantage in increasing venous flow and decreasing the chance of clots forming.  Tight white compression stockings (TED hose) may be prescribed depending on the level of risk for the specific patient (see below).  Mechanical "pumps" squeeze the lower legs at regular intervals in another means of prevention.  For patients at the highest risk of DVT, blood thinning medication is injected daily under the skin of the abdomen.   

Greater Risk of Clots for Some Patients

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) can occur in almost anyone. However, certain individuals may be at increased risk for developing a DVT. Risk factors include but are not limited to:
  • Recent surgical procedure (and greater chance of a DVT with a long, intense surgery and joint replacement surgeries)
  • Restricted mobility from bedrest, paralysis, traveling for many hours without taking a break to walk around
  • Active Cancer
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)--if you take "water pills" and are not sure why--ask your doctor if you have CHF
  • Age greater than 40 years old
  • Pregnancy and the postpartum period (6-8 weeks after delivery)
  • Injury to the leg or the deep veins of the leg
  • Smoking
  • Use of certain medications such as birth control pills and estrogen
  • Dehydration
  • Polycythemia
  • Obesity
  • Current smoker
  • Past history of having a blood clot or an inherited family tendency to develop blood clots  
Spot a Clot  . . . a Campaign sponsored by the Venous Disease Coalition

Check out their website to learn more about DVT and related conditions such as:
  • Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS) After a DVT is treated and resolved, this chronic condition may result in up to 40% of all individuals.  It's the result of damage done by the clot to the valves that move blood through the vein.
  • Pulmonary Embolis (PE)  Blood clots in the smallest vessels of the lungs.
  • Thrombophila Blood that clots too easily. Hypercoagulability is another word used to describe this condition which can be inherited.
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency results when the valves in the veins that move blood don't function properly, often occurs from injury to veins caused by a DVT, from varicose veins, or as the result of an inherited condition.
Venous Disease Coalition Patient Education Resources:

The Vascular Disease Foundation has a variety of full-color brochures available for download including a great pamphlet called "Focus on Clots."  (This publication was previously called "Spot a Clot," but otherwise it's the exact same informational card.)
You may also request a copy of these brochures by calling toll free: 1-888-833-4463.

Other related publications you can download:

Provided by the
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1 comment:

causes of blood clots said...

There are several causes of blood clots like excessive bed rest, sitting for long periods of time in one position like when going to trips etc, pills during pregnancy, lack of mobility etc. The risk of blood clots increases with age. There are many ways to reduce these risks like making stops while traveling, being active, etc.