Deep Vein Thrombosis

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What is it?

Deep vein thrombosis is a condition where a blood clot appears in the deep vein. The blood clot is most likely to occur inside the legs of the sufferer. WebMD urges the importance of seeking medical attention immediately if you think you have a blood clot in your veins. The blood clot can come loose and travel to the lungs, where it can block the lung’s blood flow and kill you.

Causes

Hypercoagulability, venous stasis and changes in the endothelial blood vessel lining are the three factors of Virchow’s triad that aid to the development of deep vein thrombosis. Microparticles in the blood, activation of immune system components, platelet activation, and concentration of oxygen are other causes related to deep vein thrombosis.

Major surgery, old age and trauma are factors that can increase one’s risk of getting deep vein thrombosis.

WebMD adds that simple inactivity can cause risk of a blood clot. During surgery, if your blood flow is stopped, this can increase the risk of venous stasis which can lead to deep vein thrombosis. Also, pregnancy can cause blood clotting. Other risk factors include: obesity, chemotherapy, inflammatory disease, antiphosphoipid syndrome, cancers, central venous catheters, protein deficiency, combined oral contraceptives, hormonal replacement therapy, infection and HIV.

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Symptoms

Only half of those suffering from deep vein thrombosis will display any signs or symptoms. If symptoms are displayed, they are: swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, distention of surface veins and discoloration. In actuality, the symptoms that are generally visible are symptoms from other issues, such as: Baker’s cyst, cellulitist, lymphederma, tumors, arterial aneurysms, hematoma, venous aneurysms, connective tissue disorder, and musculoskeletal injury – to name a few.

Diagnosis

Ultrasounds and other imaging devices are used to detect deep vein thrombosis. The best imaging device is invasive, costly and hard to find. There is the D-dimer test, which is used specifically for issues surrounding blood clots. The D-dimer test is apparently more reliable than the getting an ultrasound. There is a clinical assessment that you can take to see the probability of having deep vein thrombosis. It is known as the Wells test. With the Wells test an individual’s score can range from -2 to 9. The higher the score, the more likely you have deep vein thrombosis.

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Treatment

Treatment centers around keeping the clot from growing or having a piece of the clot dislodge and travel to the lungs. Anticoagulation is a popular and common treatment for deep vein thrombosis. Anticoagulation is another term for blood thinner. Popular blood thinners are warfarin and heparin. The blood thinners must be taken for usually about 3 months. However, it does not treat the deep vein thrombosis you have, rather it prevents any further clotting that may occur.

At-home treatment is also another way of combating blood clots. Taking walks, putting your legs up when you are not active and wearing compression stockings are all things that WebMD suggests for at-home treatment.

In a worse case scenario a device can be used that is called a vena cava filter. The filter is put into a large vein that lets blood return from the legs and abdomen to the heart. The filter catches any clots that would find their way headed towards the direction of any organs where it could cause damage. This treatment is for those who can’t use blood thinners, or have constant, re-occurring blood clots.