As the name self explains, it’s a condition when a blood clot inside a vein is formed somewhere deep in the body. Deep vein thrombosis mostly occurs in lower leg or thigh but sometimes in other parts as well. A blood clot is solidified blood that may move places along with blood. This mostly occurs as a complication of an operative procedure.
Symptoms of DVT:
- Swelling in foot, ankle, leg, typically on one side
- Cramping pain in the same leg that begins from your calf
- Severe pain in your foot and ankle
- A warm skin patch
- Affected area skin discoloration to pale or a reddish or bluish color
Symptoms of DVT of the upper limb are usually submissive if at all, they are
- Neck or Shoulder pain
- Swelling of arm or hand
- Blue Discoloration
- Moving pain from arm to forearm
- The weakness of hand muscles
In most cases, it remains undiagnosed until a person has to go to an emergency room for pulmonary embolism. It means the clot has moved from leg to lungs blocking any vital artery. Signs of which are
- Chest Pain getting worse while coughing and inhaling
- High Breath rate
- Blood in cough
- Increased heart rate
Causes of DVT:
- Injury directly to the vessel wall
- Post-Surgery- A vessel may be injured during the surgery forming a blood clot. Resting and not moving manifolds the risk of having DVT.
- Sedentary lifestyle/ Inactivity- Excessive sitting habits result in blood collection in your legs. Gradually a clot may develop.
- Specific Drugs may increase your chances of forming a blood clot.
Risk Factors for DVT:
- Age- 50 and above
- A bone fracture
- Increased weight
- Genetic Disposition
- Venous catheter
- Birth control pills or hormone therapy
- Excessive Smoking
- Sedentary life habits
- Clotting Disorders
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Heart Failure
- Pregnancy- 5-10 times higher risk than the average person. Therefore it is essential for women to get to their feet post-delivery as soon as possible.
- Frequent flyers
Diagnosis of DVT:
- Verbal questions for symptoms
- Physical Exam
- Venogram with due under an X-Ray
- D-dimer test- blood test from factors releasing from a clot
Treatment– It mostly comes as a medical emergency and needs to be handled immediately
- Medication Management
- Blood thinners
- Thrombolytic drugs intravenously
- Special clot busters called ‘lyrics’ are administered to dissolve blood clots
- Best Results are achieved when initiated immediately
- A session of 48 min for DVT
- Most effective and commonly used
- Compression Stockings to prevent both swelling and any further development of clots
- Filters in the abdominal vein stop the clot from entering the lungs until drug management dissolves it. These filters then need to be withdrawn.
- Surgical Management- Only in exceptionally large clots
- Thrombectomy- Cut the blood vessel, locate the clot, remove and stitch back. A balloon is inserted into the blood vessel too to keep it inflated as the surgery takes place.
Risk of Surgical Management:
- Damage to vessel
- Excessive bleeding
- Conservative Management
- Ankle toe movements Move your legs while sitting or lying
- Knee Pulls- While lying pull each knee towards the chest, hold and repeat.
- Draw ankle circles in both directions, both feet
- Lifestyle Changes
- Include short frequent walks in your routine
- Use a stool to keep your feet on the same level as your body while sitting
- Compression Stockings
- Quit Smoking
- Lose weight
- Take your BP or other medication on time
- Diet Therapy
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Lessor no known vegetarian diet
- Less on Vitamin K intake
Age is just one of the factors; anyone at any age can have DVT. Knowing and reading about it is always an asset.