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 What is deep vein thrombosis?


David Edwards, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert, Ariz.

Question: What is deep vein thrombosis?

Answer: Deep vein thrombosis results from the formation of a blood clot inside a deep vein, usually located in the thigh or calf. It can cause partial or complete blockage of a vein resulting in pain, swelling, discoloration, tenderness or redness of the involved area. About 2 million Americans are affected by deep vein thrombosis each year.

There are several treatments available for Deep Vein Thrombosis. Medications known as blood thinners or anticoagulants are used to slow the coagulation process, making it less likely that a clot will progress. The body will sometimes be able to dissolve part of the clot while stabilizing the rest. In special circumstances, physicians may use specific medications to dissolve the clot or use mechanical means to extract the clot.

Some of the risk factors for Deep Vein Thrombosis:

  •  Restricted mobility
  •  40 years or older
  •  Prior history or family history of deep vein thrombosis or (pulmonary embolism)
  •  Inflammatory bowel disease
  •  Intensive care unit admission
  •  Smoking
  •  Chronic lung disease
  •  Obesity
  •  Varicose veins
  •  Surgery 
Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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