April 12


Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis DVT

By Dr. Jose Almeida

April 12, 2021

Veins are responsible for moving blood back toward our heart and lungs to remove waste and reload with oxygen. Veins are floppy, thin tubes that contain a series of valves. The valves, along with muscle contraction, push the blood and prevent blood from flowing backwards.

When the valves become floppy and no longer close, this leads to blood accumulating in the vein, stretching the vein, and moving slowly to the heart. When blood moves slowly or accumulates, it is at greater risk to form a clot.

Many varicose veins are superficial veins and can cause syndromes such as superficial thrombophlebitis or a superficial thrombosis. These types of syndromes are due to clotting blood in the superficial veins, but do not pose a serious risk. Hot compresses and taking non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs usually reduces these types of clots without any significant injury.

This blog post is not about the issues with the superficial veins, instead when talking about DVT, we need to address the veins located deep within the leg. This is how the name "Deep Vein" Thrombosis came about, due to the deep location. Watch the video below to learn more about DVT and keep reading to find out if you may be at risk of DVT.

Video: About Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Deep Varicose Veins Diagnosis & Symptoms

Note: Deep veins carry the majority of blood back to the heart.

Even though most varicose veins are found in superficial veins, varicose veins can also occur in the deeper veins in the body. These deep varicose veins would not be seen on the skin surface, but can still cause symptoms of swelling, heaviness, itchiness, and pain. The only way that these varicose veins are identified is with the use of an ultrasound.

Deep varicose veins are just like superficial varicose veins in that the valves no longer function and blood begins to accumulate. The accumulated blood that flows slowly may then begin to the clot. Since it is in the deep vein system, the clot can lead to a deep vein thrombosis, which causes increased swelling, pain, and redness of the leg. The clot may also dislodge, leading to a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. 

symptoms and treatments of deep vein thrombosis

Spider Veins Before and After Treatment Example

Varicose Veins can lead to Increased Risk of DVT

A recent study published in the Journal American Medical Association has shown that there is potential for people with varicose veins to develop deep vein thrombosis, about 5 times more than people without varicose veins. Further studies are necessary, but knowing that varicose veins can lead to increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis indicates a need for early evaluation and treatment of varicose veins to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

Video: Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment

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Dr. Jose Almeida

About the author

Dr. Jose Almeida, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT is a veteran academic vascular surgeon who practices Endovascular Venous Surgery in Miami, FL. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery in both Vascular Surgery and General Surgery.

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