Deep vein thrombosis is a medical condition that develops when a blood clot develops deep in a vein. Most found to occur in a leg, or a thigh, it can possibly develop in the arm as well.
DVT and its connection to PE (Pulmonary Embolism)
One of the major complications of DVT is pulmonary embolism.
Usually, a clot would form in one leg or arm, but not both. If the clot formed is small, you may not even recognize it. You may observe swelling in the arm or leg, feeling or warmth and redness in the area where the clot is formed, and tenderness around the spot.
After having DVT, some patients get diagnosed with Pulmonary embolism (PE). Like DVT, you can get PE and not know it. With PE, there are three things that can happen. In the first scenario, the clot can plug up a tiny blood vessel in the lung and the person may not even know it as the remainder of the lung compensates for it.
In the second scenario, this deep vein clot breaks loose and travels through the circulatory system and reaches the lungs. It might lodge in the arteries in the lungs and block the normal blood flow in the lungs. As a result, the oxygen saturation levels might drop. This is called Pulmonary Embolism.
PE signs might include shortness of breath, chest pain, which often worsens when you cough, leg pain, swelling in the calf, excessive cough which may contain blood, irregular and rapid heartbeat, severe sweating, lightheadedness or passing out.
With PE, doctors are most concerned about the third scenario, which is possibility of sudden death. According to doctors, it can be prevented with a timely diagnosis of DVT and getting the patient on blood thinners right away.
Post- thrombotic syndrome – PTS
Post the occurrence of DVT, you could have symptoms that linger after recovery. It may be due to post- thrombotic syndrome. The leading cause of PTS is the valves or walls of the veins in your leg or arm being damaged due to occurrence of DVT. Blood starts to move in the wrong direction and begins to pool inside your leg. A buildup of blood and fluid, that causes an increase in pressure in your leg, causes PTS.
It can develop within few months to few years after DVT. It could last for several years or may even be lifelong.
Diagnosing DVT and PE
DVT and PE are mostly detected late. Since the associated symptoms are subtle, like a constant nagging pain and swelling, people tend to believe it is probably a muscle pull, and don’t think it could be a clot that has formed.
DVT can be diagnosed with a duplex ultrasound. To diagnose PE, doctors may suggest a CT scan or a specialized X-ray of your lungs, called a ventilation or perfusion scan which can show how much blood is getting to your lungs.
Talk to our specialists at Avis Vascular Center to allay any concerns you may have.
For Appointment Call : 9989527715