Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially life-threatening condition that affects over 900,000 people, with as many as 30% of them dying within the first month after diagnosis. Many people don’t even know they have the condition before a crisis hits.
Dr. Dev Batra, an interventional radiologist at Dallas Vein Institute, located in Dallas, Texas, has more than a decade of experience screening, diagnosing, and treating vein problems, including DVT. He cares for his patients using the latest technologies to improve their health and their quality of life.
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot, a solid clump of blood, forms in one of your deep veins. While they can occur in any part of your body, they’re most common in your thigh or lower leg and are often associated with chronic venous insufficiency or restricted blood flow. They can become life-threatening when present in the legs because the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism, or to the brain, where it can cause a stroke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms occur only in about half of the people who have this condition.
Symptoms in the lower extremities include:
DVT results when a blood clot forms in a vein, preventing blood from circulating normally. Clots can result for several reasons, including:
If you damage a blood vessel’s wall, it can narrow the vessel or block blood flow. This may result in clot formation.
Surgery is a major cause of blood vessel damage, which can lead to a blood clot. And surgery on the lower legs, such as with a joint replacement, brings added risk because of its location. In addition, bed rest with little movement following surgery can cause blood flow to become sluggish and lead to clot formation.
If you sit for long periods, such as at work or on a long airplane flight, blood can pool in your legs, slowing down circulation and leading to clot formation.
Left untreated, these swollen, twisted veins can extend from the skin’s surface down into your body. They eventually reach your deep veins, causing blood to pool and clot.
DVT most commonly develops in people over 50, but it can happen at any age. Certain conditions that change how blood travels through your veins can increase your risk of developing clots. These include:
Hereditary blood clotting disorders, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease also increase the risk of developing a blood clot.
After taking a detailed medical history and performing a thorough physical exam, Dr. Batra will develop a treatment plan that may include one or more of the following:
Drugs like heparin and warfarin make it harder for your blood to clot and decrease the size of existing clots.
Intravenous drugs that actively break up clots are also useful for people with upper extremity DVT.
These prevent leg swelling and decrease the chances of developing clots.
Moving your body increases your circulation and prevents blood from forming clots.
In severe cases, where the clots are very large or are causing tissue damage, our team may recommend surgery, such as a surgical thrombectomy. The surgeon makes an incision in the blood vessel, locates the clot, and removes it. Then, the damaged vessel and tissue is repaired.
Our team may also recommend a minimally invasive procedure such as sclerotherapy. During this procedure a chemical solution is injected into the affected vein — often a varicose or spider vein — causing its walls to collapse. Blood is then rerouted to healthy veins.
Are you at risk for developing DVT, or do you think you may have it? Contact Dallas Vein Institute by calling 972-646-8346 or by requesting an appointment online today. We can help.