Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Vein Thrombosis?

Thrombosis is a term for a Blood Clot (Thrombi) occurring inside a blood vessel.

Thrombosis results from Blood Clots that may harden and cause complete obstruction to the normal flow of blood through the affected blood vessel.

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep Vein Thrombosis or commonly abbreviated as DVT, is the name given to the arrangement of obstructive Blood Clots in the largest veins in your leg or pelvis.

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) is unfortunately common and a serious condition. It affects up to 5% of all patients with significant Varicose Veins.

If left undiagnosed or if treatment is delayed, it can be both debilitating and potentially fatal.

DVT Risk Factors

Known DVT risk factors include:

  • Age over 40
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Immobilisation especially after long journeys
  • History of Hypercoagulation
  • Genetic factors leading to Thrombophilia
  • Certain blood diseases
  • Varicose Veins
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Steroid
  • Medication
  • Cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Bone fractures and recent surgery
  • Smoking.

Additional Risk Factors for Women

Additionally for women risks can include:

  • Oral contraceptive pills
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

There are few or no symptoms (asymptomatic) of Deep Vein Thrombosis, but any symptoms include:

  • Extreme, unexplained pain in the foot and lower leg
  • Skin colour over the affected area turning pale or a somewhat blue shading
  • Cramping torment in the influenced leg or calf
  • Swelling in the foot, calf or thigh, on the affected side.

In up to 30% of cases DVT may be silent and heal spontaneously, without intervention.

What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep Vein Thrombosis occurs due to many reasons, here are few examples –

  • Blood vessel damage
  • In hospital
  • Medical conditions
  • Inactivity
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity and excessive smoking.

Blood Clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis

Blood Clots occur when blood thickens, and when these blood clumps form (Thrombi or Blood Clots) in veins, they can cause harm to the valves and cause permanent valve damage.

The valves inside veins guarantee that blood streams in the correct flow and stop blood flowing in reverse (Venous Reflux).

Damaged valves cause blood to pool in the legs.

Unresolved or un-dissolved Blood Clots can carry through the veins back to the heart, lungs or obstruct blood to other parts of the body.

How Can Deep Vein Thrombosis Affect You?

Vein Thrombosis can cause several conditions:

  • Varicose Veins
  • Venous Reflux
  • Vein Damage
  • Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) - a blood clot breaks loose and travels in the blood
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE) - a blood clot flows to the lungs

After Deep Vein Thrombosis

Patients with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can recuperate totally, however up to 40 percent of DVT sufferers experience ongoing side effects in their arms or legs long after their underlying diagnosis.

Known as the Post-Thrombotic Disorder or Post-Phlebitic Disorder, side effects can be agonizing and incapacitating.

Vein Thrombosis Types?

Superficial Vein Thrombosis (SVT)

Superficial Venous Thromboses cause discomfort but generally not serious consequences.

Superficial Veins or Surface Veins Thrombosis can cause inflammation and pain around the vein.

If the Blood Clot is close to the inner thigh (Sapheno-Femural Junction), it has a bigger risk of Pulmonary Embolism.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep Vein Thrombosis is a Blood Clot that forms in a vein deep in the body and clumps together.

Most deep vein blood clots occur in the lower leg or thigh. They also can occur in other parts of the body.

Are Varicose Veins and DVT Connected?

Yes. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that patients with history of Deep Vein Thrombosis are more likely to develop Varicose Vein problems.

Similarly, patients presenting with Varicose Veins are more likely to develop Deep Vein Thrombosis.

For this reason, it is a good idea to have regular check ups.

Indications and Investigations

This procedure is usually recommended for patients where conservative therapies have failed.

An assessment is made of the limb to determine the state of the venous drainage of the leg and the state of the veins in the abdomen.

This often involves diagnostic ultrasound and diagnostic venography. If there is a significant amount of clot burden, and the symptoms are severe enough to justify intervention, then clot retrieval is recommended.

Diagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis

Duplex Ultrasound Colour Doppler examination performed by an experienced and qualified Sonographer.

What iF Deep Vein Thrombosis is Untreated?

After Blood Coagulation begins to shape, another arrangement of responses very quickly starts to break up the clot.

The motivation behind this procedure is to keep the Coagulation to the harmed area and stop it from progression or extension.

In some cases, DVT can be totally broken up by the body's own normal processes.

30 percent of people who suffer a serious DVT event have had intermittent DVT episodes for up to five years prior.

Is There a Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Stopping the Blood Clot from breaking away and moving to your lungs.

Decreasing your possibility of having another Blood Clot.

Preventing the Blood Clot from getting bigger.

Treatment Choices for Deep Vein Thrombosis

Treatment options for established DVT are limited to;

  • Specialised Support Stockings.
  • Thrombolytic Therapy - clot busters or blood thinning medications such as Warfarin®, Clexane, Rivaroxiban, Pixoban.
  • Endovascular Clot Removal - this is rare. It's only considered if the blood clot is very large and is blocking a major blood vessel.

Recurrent Deep Vein Thrombosis

Research shows a high incidence of Deep Vein Thrombosis recurrence after an initial attack.

The cause of DVT recurrence is likely related to a patient's risk factors and their Vein Disease Management and Prevention.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Prevention

Preventative activities for Deep Vein Thrombosis can be followed before and after any surgical procedure or where a patient is at risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Preventative measures can include:

  • Treatment of Varicose Veins
  • Taking anticoagulants.
  • Quitting smoking to lower the risk of Blood Clots.
  • Exercising the lower leg muscles to improve circulation in the legs.
  • Point the toes up toward the head so that the calves of the legs are stretched, then relax. Repeat.
  • Getting up out of bed as soon as possible after an illness or surgery, where this is not advised do the leg exercise described every hour to keep the blood moving through your legs.
  • Using compression stockings to help prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis if you are at an increased risk.