Skip to Content
New To Chronic Myeloid Leukemia? Get Information Today >>

Deep Venous Thrombosis


Deep venous thrombosis, or DVT, is a condition when a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the body. The deep veins in the legs, thighs, and hips are the most common sites for DVT. The clot prevents the normal flow of blood in the vein. The blood backs up and causes pain and swelling.

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)



  • Warfarin or other blood thinners: These medicines help prevent the DVT from getting bigger or breaking off, and prevent new clots from forming in the blood. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. When you are on warfarin or other blood thinners, you may bleed or bruise more easily. Do the following if you take warfarin or other blood thinners:

    • Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.

    • Tell your dentist and other caregivers that you take warfarin or another blood thinner. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.

    • Do not start or stop any medicines unless your primary healthcare provider (PHP) tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with warfarin or other blood thinners. Talk to your PHP about all of the other medicines that you use. Tell him if you have any problems from taking warfarin or other blood thinners. Ask for more information about warfarin or the blood thinner you take.

    • Take warfarin or other blood thinner medicine exactly how your PHP tells you to. Tell him right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.

    • Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.

    • You will need to see your PHP for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin or other blood thinners. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.

  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your PHP within 1 to 2 days:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your DVT:

  • Compression stockings: These are tight elastic stockings that put pressure on your lower legs. The pressure is highest near the toe and decreases as it goes towards the thighs. This helps push blood back up to the heart and keeps clots from forming.

  • Elevate your legs: Elevate your legs when you sit or lie down. Use a foot stool or foot rest to raise your legs while sitting. Use pillows to raise your legs while in bed.

  • Exercise: Exercise, such as walking, will help increase your blood flow. Talk to your PHP about the best exercise plan for you.

  • Change body positions often: If you travel by car or work at a desk, move and stretch in your seat several times each hour. In an airplane, get up and walk every hour. If you are bedridden, ask for help to change your position every 1 to 2 hours.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel your heart beating very fast.

  • You have a severe headache or a seizure.

  • You vomit blood.

  • Your bowel movement looks black or has blood in it.

  • You see blood in your urine.

  • You are confused, sleepy, or cannot speak clearly.

  • You have weakness or cannot move your arm or leg on one side of your body.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You suddenly feel lightheaded or have shortness of breath.

  • You have chest pain. You may have more pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Deep Venous Thrombosis (Aftercare Instructions)