Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) is one of the few dangerous venous diseases. DVT is a major clot in a deep intra-muscular leg vein. It usually presents as swelling and pain in the affected limb. Although one can get DVT in pelvic, chest, neck, and arm veins it is most commonly diagnosed in the legs. The immediate danger is that the clot can break off and go to the heart and lungs. This event is called a pulmonary embolus and can be fatal. The treatment for DVT involves anticoagulation or blood thinners. There are a variety of medications that can be used, but the key is to stop the clot from progressing. Sometimes the clot is so extensive that “clot buster” or tPA is used to dissolve it. This is a minimally invasive procedure performed by Dr. Tapper in the hospital. The idea is to dissolve the clot before it damages the delicate valves in the deep veins. The sooner a clot is dissolved, the better the chance for normal vein valve function. Major stimuli for clot formation include immobility (such as plane flight or long car ride), trauma, cancer, genetic conditions, and certain drugs. If you experience sudden onset of pain and swelling in your calf or thigh in such a setting, call your doctor, you may have a DVT.