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Home > Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis

  • An ultrasound scan looks for blockages of blood flow in blood vessels.
  • A Doppler ultrasound shows how fast the blood is flowing.
Treatment aims to prevent:
  • The clot becoming larger.
  • The blood clot from breaking loose and traveling to the lungs.
  • New clots from forming.
  • Post-thrombotic syndrome.
Drug treatments: Anticoagulants are the most common treatment. These alter certain chemicals in the blood to stop clot formation. Anticoagulants include injectable heparin, which may be followed later by oral warfarin. Anticoagulants can stop new blood clots from forming and old ones growing in size. They can't dissolve existing clots. The body does this by itself over time.

Thrombolytics are used less commonly. These medicines are used to dissolve blood clots. They carry a high risk of bleeding, so are only used in severe cases.

Graduated Compression stockings are usually recommended to relieve pain and swelling, and to prevent post- thrombotic syndrome. These may need to be worn for one year or more after having a DVT.

Prevention: Prevalence of deep vein thrombosis amongst hospitalized patients is higher than general population. Identification of those who are at risk of developing DVT is an integral part of the prevention. Elderly patients undergoing surgery are especially at risk. Prophylactic measures to minimize the risk involve mechanical methods like elastic stockings or pneumatic compression device and chemical methods like injection heparin daily. Early mobilization also helps to reduce the risk.

In the western countries it is mandatory to give prophylactic heparin to all high risk patients undergoing surgery.

Various studies have shown that these measures significantly reduce the incidence of DVT and PE

Traveling: Although the added risk of developing a DVT caused by long haul traveling appears to be low, taking some preventive measures can reduce it even further. Wherever possible, you should :-

  • Exercise your legs at least every 2-3 hours - try to take regular breaks from driving. Or if you're a passenger, walk up and down the aisle of a coach, train or plane.
  • exercise the muscles of your lower legs (which act as a pump for the blood in the veins) while sitting - pull your toes towards your knees then relax, or press your feet down while raising your heel.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
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