What is DVT? Deep Vein Thrombosis

Ultrasound image showing the posterior tibial, peroneal and soleal veins in the calf with compression. Evaluation of the calf is essential in the detection of DVT.

If blood moves too slowly through your veins, it can cause a clump of blood cells called a clot. When a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside your body, it causes what doctors call “deep vein thrombosis” (DVT). This is most likely to happen in your lower leg, however can occur in your thigh, or pelvis. Blood clots can occur in other parts of your body, too.

DVT can lead to major health problems. In some cases, it can be fatal. That’s why if you think you have one, you must see a doctor right away.

 

What Are the Signs?

Not everyone with DVT shows symptoms. But you might notice any of the following:

  • Leg or arm swelling that comes on without warning
  • Pain or soreness when you stand or walk
  • Warmth in the area that hurts
  • Enlarged veins
  • Cramping sensation in the calf that just won't go away

 

Pulmonary Embolism

If a blood clot breaks free and moves through your bloodstream, it travels to your lung and gets stuck in a blood vessel. Doctors call this a pulmonary embolism, or PE. It can be fatal. How big is a blood clot?

Some people don’t know they have DVT until this happens.

Signs of PE include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain that’s worse when you take a deep breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Increased heart rate

 

What Causes DVT?

Many things can increase your chances of getting DVT. Here are some of the most common:

  • Age. DVT can happen at any age, but your risk is greater after age 40.
  • Sitting for long periods. When you sit or lie down for long stretches of time, the muscles in your lower legs stay lax. This makes it hard for blood to circulate, or move around, like it should. Bed rest and long flights or car rides can put you at risk.
  • Pregnancy. Carrying a baby puts more pressure on the veins in your legs and pelvis. What’s more, a clot can happen up to 6 weeks after you give birth.
  •  Trauma:  An injury to the leg or other part of the body increases inflammation and also limits peoples mobility. Inflammation and mobility combine to increase the risk for developing DVT. 
  • Change in Blood Chemistry:  Hormones play a huge part in the risk assessment for DVT. Birth control, estrogen and testosterone injections, supplements or pills increase the risk for DVT. 
  • Obesity. People with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 have a higher chance of DVT. This measures how much body fat you have compared to your height and weight.
  • Cancer: It is estimated that nearly half of diagnosed DVT that are asymptomatic are due to an underlying malignancy.  

 

Who does your testing matters!

Imaging of Calf Veins

Did you know that the American College of Radiology doesn't require imaging below the knee!

 

Radiology Department often miss up to 50% of the deep vein thrombosis due to poor imaging protocols. 

An 8 year study showed that 98% of DVT found above the knee had calf involvement and that 54% of the patients who had confirmed DVT would have been called normal if the calf was not imaged. 

 

Dedicated Vascular Lab

If you are having a vascular ultrasound performed it should be by a Registered Vascular Technologist or Sonographer. RVT or RVS.   Even then as a patient it is your right to know how much experience they have.  Ask questions it is your right!


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Vascular Testing

Truffles Vein Specialists is dedicated to vascular testing and provides comprehensive vascular testing. Call to schedule your next vascular exam. 

Advanced Reporting

We use  Core Study Cast cloud based PACS. This enables us to share your test and the images anywhere in the world immediately.