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DVT and Me…

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What is DVT and how does it develop?

To be healthy and live and active life, we have to have balanced circulation.  DVT is the formation of a thrombus or clot formed of red blood cells and this is when circulation fails in the body.  The development of a thrombus can block a vessel or travel within that vessel, this occurs for three main reasons.  The first two, stasis of blood, and injury to a blood vessel, can lead to formation of a clot.  This is why doctors and nurses insist on people moving after surgery or after a trauma or injury. Thirdly, “thick blood” can occur in people who have cancer or clotting abnormalities and lead to a clot forming.  DVT is a clot on the vein side of the circulation.  This is where blood comes back to the heart and lungs from the body.    
 

What are the common symptoms of DVT?  Are they always obvious?

The most common symptoms are pain and swelling.  Both of these can be sudden and severe.  It is almost always noticed by the patient.  Sometimes during certain illnesses or surgeries the risk of DVT can be higher.
 

How is DVT diagnosed and treated?

DVT is diagnosed with the use of an ultrasound machine to “see” the blood clot or look for abnormal flow.  DVT is treated almost universally with a blood thinner.  Massive DVT or PE can be treated by vascular surgeons who can remove or dissolve the clot to improve blood flow.
 

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