Also known as DVT, Deep Vein Thrombosis means the development of a thrombus which is nothing but a clot of blood in the leg veins as well as the veins around the pelvis. In unusual cases it can even occur in the veins of the arm as reported in Paget-Schrotter disease. Another part of the disease is Pulmonary Embolism which happens when the embolus (a piece of blood clot) reaches lung and this is usually fatal. As per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, VDT annually affects 1 out of every 1000 American although its occurrence in the children is rare and its common symptoms include redness, swelling up of superficial veins, pain, tenderness etc…In case of Pulmonary embolism symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, wheezing, augmented heart rate are common.
Although DVT is mainly a result of leg injury, pregnancy, poor physical activity, obesity, smoking, central venous catheters, oral contraceptives, orthopedic casts, previous DVT, cancer, heart failure, ulcerative colitis, genetics but sometimes a person can develop DVT for no clear reasons. However, long flights in the economy class are often thought to be linked to DVT but this is just a myth which was confirmed by a recent study.
Several tests are used to diagnose DVT and these include Venograms wherein X-ray images can see the dye which is inserted into the patient’s body either through the foot or the groin, Ultrasound which tells how fast the blood is flowing, D-dimer test and imaging scans such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) which tell the presence of blood clots in the patient’s body.
Regarding the treatment of DVT, the doctors maintain that their main aim is to stop the thrombus (clot) from growing and its dislodging to the lungs and to prevent the reoccurrence of DVT. The treatments for DVT include anticoagulants such as Heparin and Warfarin which prevent the blood clots from developing further; Thrombolysis which is the breaking down of blood clots is also used. An umbrella like device known as Inferior Vena Cava Filter is also used to catch the blood clots and sometimes Compression Stocking is also worn by the patients to prevent the development of ulcers. Also defining the complications associated with DVT, doctors say pulmonary embolism is the most feared one which can be even fatal and in patients where DVT reoccur, Post-thrombotic syndrome is more frequent.