DVT (Deep Thrombophlebitis)
“What Is DVT (Deep Thrombophlebitis) ?”
DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis, also known as Deep Thrombophlebitis. This is the term for a blood clot (thrombus) found in a deep vein, often in a leg vein. Deep veins are the veins near the bones that are surrounded by muscle. These veins lie deeper under the skin and return more blood to the heart than surface (superficial) veins.
DVT Risk Factors
One risk factor for DVT is the presence of untreatedvaricose veins. Other risk factors include immobility, downtime from surgery, trauma, cancer and genetic clotting disorders.
Blood clots with inflammation in superficial veins (called superficial thrombophlebitis or phlebitis) rarely cause serious problems. But clots in deep veins (Deep Thrombophlebitis) require immediate medical care.
These clots are dangerous when they dislodge, travel to the lungs, and block blood flow. This is called pulmonary embolism, and it can be fatal. DVT can also lead to ongoing problems if it damages a vein. It can also lead to leg sores years later.
What Causes DVT (Deep Thrombophlebitis)?
Blood clots can form in your body’s deep veins when damage occurs to a vein’s inner lining, if blood flow is sluggish or if your blood is thicker or more likely to clot than usual.
Clots can form if you are inactive, such as when you are bedridden or must sit a long while. Surgery or injury can damage your blood vessels and cause clots. Cancer can also cause deep vein thrombosis. Some people have blood that clots too easily, an inherited problem.
What are the symptoms of DVT?
Symptoms of DVT include swelling, warmth and redness or pinkness. A calf or thigh may ache and feel tender to the touch.
If a blood clot is small, it may not cause any symptoms. In some cases, pulmonary embolism is the first sign that that there was DVT.
How Is DVT Diagnosed?
DVT is diagnosed with a noninvasive ultrasound of the veins. A doppler ultrasound test measures the blood flow through veins and identifies any clots.
How is DVT treated?
DVT treatment begins immediately to prevent pulmonary embolism or the clot growing in size.
Treatment for DVT usually involves prescription blood thinners. Heparin is given through a vein (intravenously, or IV) or as an injection. Warfarin is a pill.
You will have blood tests often so your physician can determine the effectiveness of the medications on your clots.
Your doctor also may recommend that you elevate your leg, use a heating pad, exercise and compression socks. These can alleviate pain and swelling.
In rare cases, a vena cava filter may be used in the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the abdomen and legs. A vena cava filter helps prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs.
How Can DVT Be Prevented?
- Wearing compression stockings, especially when traveling.
- Increased fiber intake can help digestive health as well as reduce the pressure put on varicose veins.
- Adding additional amounts of vitamin C to the diet can ensure that blood vessels are getting the support they need.
- Bioflavonoids are thought by some to strengthen vein walls due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Hot and cold baths are used by some who find that soaking their legs first in a warm, then cool water bath helps reduce pain and improve circulation in the legs afflicted with varicose veins.
- Simply lying horizontally on a couch or bed can be helpful in reducing pressure in the legs. If the feet are elevated on pillows to rest a few inches above the level of the heart, the blood is encouraged to drain back towards the body which releases pressure on the veins and valves in the legs.
Visit Dr. Wright for Expert DVT Treatment in St. Louis
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