Deep Vein Thrombosis
In order to diagnose deep vein thrombosis, your doctor will need to obtain your medical history and perform a physical exam. He or she may also order certain tests to make a diagnosis.
Some of the more common tests used in diagnosing DVT include:
- Duplex ultrasound
(Click Deep Vein Thrombosis Diagnosis for more information about the tests used to diagnose the condition.)
The main goals for deep vein thrombosis treatment are to:
- Stop the clot from getting bigger
- Stop the clot from breaking off in your vein and moving to your lungs
- Decrease your chance of having another deep vein thrombosis.
The condition is usually treated with medication. DVT medications include:
- Thrombin inhibitors.
Other treatments include a vena cava filter or graduated compression stockings.
(Click DVT Treatments for more information.)
One complication of DVT is pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot in a vein breaks off, travels through your bloodstream, and lodges in your lung. Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that can cause death. Superficial venous thrombosis (phlebitis) is a blood clot in a vein that is close to the surface of the skin. Blood clots in superficial veins cannot travel to the lungs.
Another potential complication of DVT is postphlebitic syndrome, which is a permanent condition that is caused by valves in the leg veins that do not work properly. Although the body has mechanisms within itself to dissolve clots, the process is slow. Throughout this process, an inflammatory reaction occurs that can scar the veins, especially the valves. The valves then fail to prevent blood from flowing backwards, which allows the blood to pool in the leg veins and cause pain, swelling, and sometimes varicose veins and skin ulcerations.
(Click Pulmonary Embolism for more information about this potential complication.)