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Deep Vein Thrombosis
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein of the body. The deep veins in the legs, thighs, and hips are the most common sites for DVT. DVT can also occur in a deep vein within your arms. The clot prevents the normal flow of blood in the vein. The blood backs up and causes pain and swelling. The DVT can break into smaller pieces and travel to your lungs and cause a blockage called a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism can become life-threatening.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
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is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Blood thinners help prevent the DVT from getting bigger and prevent new clots from forming. While you are taking warfarin or other blood thinners, you may bleed or bruise more easily.
- Clot busters are emergency medicines that work to dissolve blood clots. They cannot be used during pregnancy or in people with medical conditions that increase their risk of bleeding.
- A D-dimer blood test may be done to check for signs of a blood clot.
- An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures on a monitor. An ultrasound may be done to show a clot in your vein.
- A contrast venography is an x-ray of a vein. Contrast liquid is used to make the vein easier to see on the x-ray. Tell a healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
- Intermittent pneumatic compression devices have cuffs that are wrapped around each limb. The air pump inflates the cuffs and squeezes your limbs. Then it deflates. The compression helps move blood through your veins towards your heart. The deflating allows blood to flow from your heart through arteries to your limbs.
- Compression stockings or sleeves help blood move through your veins toward your heart.
- A vena cava filter may be placed inside your vena cava to treat your DVT. The vena cava is a large vein that brings blood from your lower body up to your heart. The filter traps blood clots and prevents them from going into your lungs.
- Surgery , called a thrombectomy, may be done to remove the clot. A procedure called thrombolysis may instead be done to inject a clot buster that helps break the clot apart.
The DVT can break into smaller pieces. Each piece is called an embolus. The embolus can travel to your lungs and cause a blockage called a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism can become life-threatening. Increased pressure and decreased blood flow can damage the tissues around the DVT. The valves in the deep veins that allow your blood to flow back to your heart can be damaged. This can cause long-term pain and swelling.
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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.