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What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops within a deep vein in the body, usually in the leg.

Deep Vein Thrombosis can cause swelling and pain in the leg but often occurs without giving any symptoms. A DVT may well settle completely as the thrombosis is dissolved by the body naturally. However, if a DVT extends up the deep veins it can become dislodged from the vein, and get carried through the main veins and heart to lodge in the lungs - also known as a pulmonary embolism. Small pulmonary emboli may cause chest pain, and sometimes coughing up of blood. Multiple or larger pulmonary emboli may cause breathlessness. A large pulmonary embolism which blocks the main blood vessels to the lungs can be fatal.

The thrombosis can also cause chronic blockage in the deep veins or damage to their valves, leading to long term swelling and sometimes skin problems at the ankle. 

Due to the inherent complexity of the many vascular disorders, there may be more than one way of managing a particular condition. For this reason, when planning a procedure, your consultant will discuss all the treatment options in a multidisciplinary team meeting, to ensure that all perspectives are considered before recommending a course of action to a patient

Who is at risk of DVT?

There is no evidence that wearing below-knee graduated compression stockings reduces the chance of DVT for people with special risk factors, as there is no direct evidence about people being at special risk of DVT as a result of long journeys. However, based on surgical evidence, the following factors can increase the risk of DVT.

  • Having had a recent major operation
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Taking the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Heart disease
  • Varicose Veins
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Treatment Options for DVT

There is no evidence that wearing below-knee graduated compression stockings reduces the chance of DVT for people with special risk factors, as there is no direct evidence about people being at special risk of DVT as a result of long journeys. However, based on surgical evidence, the following factors can increase the risk of DVT.

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