Each year in the United States, about 2 million patients suffer from a deep vein thrombosis or clot. About 500,000 of these patients may be placed in the hospital for treatment, while 200,000 may die from a complication known as a pulmonary embolism.
DVT is more common in individuals with risk factors such as recent surgery, a long hospitalization, autoimmune disorders, hereditary abnormalities in the clotting system or being on estrogen hormone therapy. Sometimes they occur when sitting for a long time, such as a long car or plane trip.
The most common symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis are pain, swelling and redness in the calf. Unfortunately, about half of patients do not have attention-getting symptoms.
A thorough medical history and physical examination is important, but the best test to diagnose the severity and location of a clot is a venous ultrasound. Some specific blood tests are also useful.
Treatment of the clot usually requires an anticoagulant of either an injectable medicine, such as heparin, or an oral medication, such as Coumadin, Eliquis or Xarelto. Very rarely, an intravenous medication is given to dissolve large clots in the pelvis more rapidly.
Damage done to the valves or to the wall of the vein may result in post-thrombotic syndrome, which may involve chronic swelling and ulceration. Wearing graduated medical compression stockings helps reduce the development or the of this problem.
To diagnose a possible clot, evaluate risk factors and recommend appropriate long-term treatment, contact Coates Vein Clinic at 520-849-8346.