Potentially dangerous blood clots – called deep vein thrombosis – can strike a broad range of people from ages 30 to 80. McLeod Vascular Specialist Dr. Joshua Sibille explains the dangers and treatments for DVTs.
Here’s a recap of Dr. Sibille’s comments:
A DVT is a deep vein thrombosis or a blood clot that forms, typically in the legs. However, it can be any deep vein either in the arms or the legs. DVTs can be a problem because they can break off and travel to the lungs, at which point they’re called a pulmonary embolism. DVTs can be fatal. So, treatment is very important.
The symptoms of a DVT usually involve swelling or pain in the legs. The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are different and, typically, involve shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing. Sometimes, patients have a sense of doom or despair that comes along with this.
Treatment of a DVT can be something as simple as blood thinners. More aggressive treatment includes mechanical clot removal or a procedure called thrombolysis, where a catheter is placed through the middle of the clot and a clot-busting medication is injected for 24-48 hours. Long-term treatment for all DVT patients typically involves blood thinners to prevent a recurrence of the disease.
Risk factors for DVT typically involve patients who are sedentary for a prolonged period. Classically, this is a patient who is on a long car or plane trip, staying in the same position for extended periods of time. Other risk factors are hypercoagulable states, where patients either have a history of cancer or some disease process in their family that makes them at a higher risk for blood clotting. Surgery can also predispose patients to risk of blood clots as well.
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