DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS
WHAT IS DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) affects nearly 2 million men and women each year, and nearly 300,000 people will die from DVT annually. It is a life-threatening condition that arises when a vein deep in the body is obstructed by a blood clot. DVT is ordinarily found in the leg, usually in the calf muscle, but can appear anywhere in the body.Complications from DVT can be fatal and the condition should be taken seriously.
TYPES OF DVT
Deep Vein Thrombosis can be divided into two phases – acute and chronic:
- Acute Deep Vein Thrombosis: carries the risk of migrating to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), so the mainstay of treatment is anticoagulation (blood thinners). In some cases where acute DVT occurs in the major veins (iliac veins, vena cava) a treatment called catheter-directed thrombolysis (clot busters) may be used to reopen them and re-establish blood flow.
- Chronic Deep Vein Thrombosis: in the chronic phase causes obstruction of flow from the legs to the heart-this can result in post-thrombotic syndrome. Chronically occluded deep veins causing severe post-thrombotic syndrome can be treated with modern-day recanalization techniques. Recanalization involves reestablishing a channel within the blocked vein using catheters and wires, stretching the vein with balloons (angioplasty), and placing stents to maintain the vein open.
SYMPTOMS OF DVT
Unfortunately, deep vein thrombosis can take place for months or even years with absolutely no side effects. During the acute stage, a pulmonary embolism may occur causing chest pain and maybe even death.
With that being said, most patients will begin to notice at least some minor signs that something is wrong such as leg swelling, tenderness, warmth, and redness of the legs. Many patients believe they have an infection or have sprained a muscle in their leg.
Any patients that notice unusual leg swelling or discomfort for an extended period of time should seek out immediate medical attention.
- Swelling (unusual and sudden)
- or No symptoms at all
Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS, also called post-phlebitic syndrome and venous stress disorder) is a symptom that may occur as long-term complications of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It occurs when the DVT produces injury and scarring in the valves that regulate the one-way blood flow in leg veins, leading to decreased circulation. Dr. Jose Almeida is an expert and one of Miami’s top-rated providers at diagnosing and treating post-thrombotic syndrome and DVT.
Symptoms of Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS)
- pain (aching or cramping)
- itching or tingling
- swelling (edema)
- varicose veins
- brownish or reddish skin discoloration
DEADLY RISK FACTOR OF DVT – PULMONARY EMBOLISM
Pulmonary Embolism (PE) can occur when the DVT is left untreated. PE can be deadly as a blood clot moves through the veins and blocking one of the major veins in the lungs.
CAUSES OF DVT
The majority of patients with DVT have one or more risk factors leading to a blood clot or Thrombosis. For many people, this condition develops when they are immobilized or sedentary for a long period of time such as sitting at a desk all day, traveling for long hours or being hospitalized.
Causes: Genetics and Medications
Certain genetic factors can also increase a patient’s risk for developing a DVT. Patients that take certain medications (primarily birth control or hormone replacement therapy) also run the risk of developing DVT as well as patients with cardiorespiratory failure and patients with chronic inflammatory diseases (such as Lupus or inflammatory bowel disease).
Patients that are obese have heart failure or smoke also have a much higher risk of developing this condition. Any trauma to the lining of the veins in the midsection or legs will increase one’s risk of DVT as well.
DIAGNOSING A DVT
DVT’s can be diagnosed thru history and physical examination, Venous Ultrasound, Computed Tomography Venography (CTV) and Magnetic Resonance Venography (MRV).
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR DVT
Acute deep vein thrombosis carries the risk of migrating to the lungs (pulmonary embolism), so the mainstay of treatment is anticoagulation (blood thinners). In most cases blood-thinning drugs like warfarin can help the patient avoid repetitive clotting and lower the chances of developing pulmonary embolism, however they may not create a good channel for blood flow or prevent some complications.
In some cases where acute DVT occurs in the major veins (iliac veins, vena cava) a treatment called catheter-directed thrombolysis (clot busters) may be used to reopen them and re-establish blood flow.
If it is determined that the clot is superficial, then most patients will only need minor treatments such as compression stockings, warm compresses for their legs and anti-inflammatory medication.
Recent DVT Treatment
It is well known that intervening early leads to the best outcomes in most diseases and conditions, but many people want to avoid surgical procedures that can be risky and invasive. A relatively new, minimally-invasive procedure has been developed to allow for early intervention for those suffering from deep vein thrombosis. It can help prevent more serious conditions like post-thrombotic syndrome and pulmonary embolism.
One recent innovation in early intervention for deep vein thrombosis involves the use of isolated pharmacomechanical thrombolysis (IPMT) to disperse the clot and avoid any complications.
Up to two-thirds of deep vein thrombosis patients have serious complications. The new therapy can be expected to totally dissolve blood clots if the condition is treated early, normally within the first three weeks.
EARLY DETECTION AND INTERVENTION
Even though pain, swelling, discoloration and abnormal warmth are signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, only about half of sufferers display them. In many cases, the condition is only apparent after a blood clot has broken off and resulted in a pulmonary embolism.
Early detection and treatment is very important in order to prevent the development of serious complications as a result of deep vein thrombosis.
By the time blood clots become chronic, normally within six weeks, they are very hard to treat, even with advanced techniques. This is because they actually adhere to the vein wall and become part of it, complicating removal. Treating clots is best done in the acute stage, so early intervention is critical.
To learn more about early intervention procedures for deep vein thrombosis, schedule an appointment at the Miami Vein Center in Miami. Call 305-930-8941 or click here to book a consultation at the Miami Vein Center.