DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment.

This article outlines the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis.

DVT Causes

A variety of risk factors can contribute to the development of deep vein thrombosis. DVT can be caused by:

  • Surgery (hip or leg surgery, abdominal surgery, trauma, broken bones, prolonged bed rest, prolonged sitting in an airplane or car),
  • cancer,
  • pregnancy,
  • premature birth control pills or hormones,
  • menopause symptoms and varicose veins.

Deep vein thrombosis can also occur without any apparent symptoms.

DVT Symptoms

Warning signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:

  • sudden shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • discomfort that gets worse when inhaling deeply
  • cough
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • fast pulse
  • rapid breathing
  • coughing up blood.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) symptoms and signs may include swelling of the affected leg, swelling in the leg, pain in the leg (if it starts in the calf), cramps or pain, red or discolored skin on the legs and feeling warmth in the legs.

DVT Diagnosis

To diagnose Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), the doctor needs to ask the patient about the symptoms. The tests performed depend on whether doctor believes the patient has a low or high risk for DVT. In case of a have a physical exam, the doctor will check for swelling, tenderness or changes in skin color.

Some people with severe DVT may have elevated D-dimer blood levels, which is a blood test. D-dimmer is a type of protein that produces blood clots. This test is used to diagnose a blood clot and rule it out if one is found.

Normal D-Dimer test results can help to rule out PEDs. Duplex ultrasound is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create an image of the blood flowing through the veins. It is the standard test for diagnosing PEP.

A series of ultrasound scans are carried out over several days to determine whether blood clots are growing and to look for new ones. A dye is injected into a large vein in the foot or ankle.

An X-ray provides an image of the veins in the leg or foot to look for blood clots. During the test, a technician moves a small handheld device or transducer under the skin or body into the area to be examined.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This test is performed to diagnose DVT in the veins of the abdomen. Other tests, such as ultrasound, can also be performed. This is the most invasive test that can be performed.

DVT Treatments

Drugs called anticoagulants are the most common treatment for DVT. These drugs do not dilute the blood, despite their name. They can’t get rid of existing blood clots. Instead, they prevent the blood clot from growing or disintegrating and prevent new clots from forming.

Blood thinners are apixaban (Eliquis, Betrixaban, Bevyxxa), dabigatran (Pradaxa), edoxaban (Savaysa, Fondaparinux, Arixtra), heparin (Rivaroxaban, Xarelto) and warfarin.

Doctors treat most people with DVT within 5 to 10 days. The treatment and time in hospital may vary depending on the gender, the location of the cause of the blood clot, whether the patient has cancer or have ever had DVT.

If the patient goes to hospital with a new blood clot (acute DVT) the doctor will give the patient heparin IV (a needle in the vein) and a shot if the patient goes to hospital. A newer anticoagulant drug, an XA inhibitor, works better than warfarin in most people.

Some medications can cause bleeding: warfarin is a medication to stop bleeding before it becomes a problem. Fondaparinux is a vaccine given to people who have suffered a hip fracture, hip replacement, knee replacement or abdominal surgery to prevent DVT.

Your doctor may also prescribe fondaparinox (warfarin) to treat severe DVT or treat a blood clot that gets stuck in the lungs, called a pulmonary embolism. Dabigatran is a pill that prevents certain proteins from supporting the function of blood clots. It is also known as a direct thrombin inhibitor.

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