Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially life-threatening circulatory system condition that affects over 900,000 people, with as many as 30% of them dying within the first month after diagnosis. It may or may not present with symptoms, so many people don’t know they have it until they reach a crisis.
At Dallas Vein Institute in Dallas, Texas, interventional radiologist Dr. Dev Batra boasts more than a decade of experience diagnosing and treating vein problems, including DVT. He’s committed to helping people avoid the potential complications from this condition using the latest technologies available. Here’s what you need to know.
Your veins serve an essential function: to return deoxygenated blood from the body’s tissues to the heart against the pull of gravity. One way they do this is by calf muscle contractions, which push the blood upward. Another way is a series of one-way valves that close once the blood passes through.
If the valves become damaged, they don’t close completely, allowing blood to pool around the valves. That is known as chronic venous insufficiency. The most readily apparent effect is engorged, colored swellings on the thighs and calves — varicose veins.
If varicose veins move deeper in the leg tissue, they can affect the deep veins, causing a clump of blood, called a clot, to form — deep vein thrombosis. The clots can also form if your veins are narrowed or blocked; you spend most of your time sitting, which impedes proper circulation; or you’re on bed rest following surgery.
These clots can break off and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DVT symptoms occur only in about half of those who have this condition. Symptoms include:
Signs the clot has broken free and entered the lungs include:
If you have signs of a PE, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.
Once Dr. Batra has taken a detailed medical history and performed a thorough physical exam, he comes up with a treatment plan that may include one or more of the following:
If the clots are large or are causing damage to your tissues, Dr. Batra may recommend surgery, such as a surgical thrombectomy. After making an incision in the blood vessel, he locates the clot and removes it before repairing the damaged vessel and tissue.
If you’re troubled with varicose veins and want to limit your risk of developing DVT, Dr. Batra may recommend a minimally invasive procedure such as sclerotherapy. He injects a saline solution into the affected vein, which irritates it, causing it to swell and its walls to collapse. Blood is then rerouted to healthy veins, and the diseased vein is flushed from your body.
If you’re noticing symptoms consistent with DVT or have large varicose veins, it’s time to seek medical attention. Give Dallas Vein Institute a call at 972-646-8346 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Batra, or book your appointment online. A simple visit can prevent complications later on.