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A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein, usually in the legs. A DVT can be dangerous because it can break loose and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. There it can block blood flow in the lungs (pulmonary embolism). This can be life-threatening.
DVT often doesn't cause symptoms. Or it may cause only minor ones. When symptoms happen, they include:
Sometimes a pulmonary embolism is the first sign that you have DVT.
If your doctor thinks you may have DVT, you will probably have an ultrasound test. You may have other tests as well.
Causes of a blood clot in a deep vein (DVT) include:
Treatment for DVT usually involves taking blood thinners. They prevent blood clots by increasing the time it takes a blood clot to form. They also help prevent existing blood clots from getting larger.
Your doctor also may suggest that you prop up or elevate your leg or arm when possible, take several walks a day, and wear compression stockings. These measures may help reduce the pain and swelling that can happen with DVT.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: December 19, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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