Deep Vein Thrombosis Screening

Hundreds of thousands of Americans develop Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) each year, and tens of thousands of them die from this condition. DVT is the clotting of blood in the deep (inner) veins of body, most commonly in the legs. This typically occurs near the valves of the calf veins due to a lack of oxygenated blood in that vicinity and consequent chains of chemical reactions that create conditions in which the blood will clot. Due to the possibility of the clot dislodging itself and rushing to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) which would be a life-threatening occurrence, a person found to have DVT must be taken immediately to the emergency room for care. Another complication of DVT is the damaging of the valves near the blood clot and subsequent circulation difficulties or even vein blockage.

We at the Center For Venous Disease (CVD) have staff with the specialized training necessary to screen patients for DVT risk or symptoms, detect any clot that may have formed, and to administer the best possible treatment. DVTs are best diagnosed using ultrasound since these machines are extremely sensitive and produce highly specific images, but CT scans are also used for this purpose. Venograms are another tool that can be of assistance by highlighting the whole venous system in the leg or in some other part of one’s body. After an emergency treatment, anti-coagulation medicines along with prescribed exercises can aid one to full recovery, and we will always be there to follow your progress and treat any side effects or problems that may occur.

Symptoms of DVT are sometimes absent and at other times are not distinct from symptoms of other diseases, but in conjunction with known risk factors these symptoms may recommend an examination and ultrasound of the suspected veins. A leg with DVT may experience any of the following symptoms: pain, swelling, soreness, redness, enlarged superficial (outer) veins, a warm feeling, and discoloration. While most of those tested for DVT are found not to have it but to have developed these symptoms for other reasons and the chances of having a blood clot are small in most cases, screening and testing of those with risk factors and/or symptoms has saved many lives.

Only one tenth of a percent of American adults and one hundredth of a percent of children develop DVT in any given year, but the risk increases with age, and about one percent of older Americans will get DVT each year. Besides age, other risk factors include: pregnancy, recent childbirth, having any blood type other than O, and having had a knee or hip replacement surgery. Those who have had DVT in the past or who fall into one of the risk categories also increase their chances of getting DVT when they undertake major travel.

If you believe you are at high risk for DVT or are experiencing symptoms that may indicate it, please do not hesitate to contact us for an examination. If you are in a high risk category, consider also scheduling a yearly checkup to make sure that DVT has not developed.