In honor of DVT Awareness Month, SEEN spoke with Dr. Diego Hernandez from Bloomfield Vein and Vascular to explain what a DVT is, its symptoms and what treatment options are available.
Sponsored by Bloomfield Vein & Vascular, PLLC.
What is a DVT?
Deep Venous Thrombosis, or DVT, is the medical term used to describe a blood clot that forms in a deep vein. Although clots may happen in any vein in the body, the vast majority involve veins of our lower extremities.
What causes DVT?
DVTs occur as a result of inadequate or stagnant blood flow in our veins, coupled with a condition making blood prone to clot; commonly, we associate DVTs with surgery, cancer, trauma, long airplane flights and sedentary conditions, but occasionally clots may occur without a cause. Although such conditions are common, development of DVTs is not. However, a DVT can have profound consequences at the time of initial presentation and potentially years later.
Are there any symptoms?
The most common presentation of a DVT is the development of sudden lower extremity swelling, typically just involving one leg. Swelling might be accompanied by pain, difficulty walking and/or discoloration. Development of these signs or symptoms should prompt you to have an evaluation immediately. In rare cases, a DVT might present as a Pulmonary Embolus, or PE, the result of the clot “breaking up” and traveling to our lungs.
How do I know if I have a DVT?
DVTs are typically diagnosed with an ultrasound, which allows us to “look” inside your lower extremity veins.
Can I get treated for a DVT?
Treatment consists of a blood thinner – new-generation anticoagulants are far more effective in treating clots than previous drugs. “Thinners” won’t dissolve the clot but will prevent it from getting larger or breaking off. However, there are instances when the DVT may be more extensive and cause severe symptoms; in those circumstances, we perform minimally invasive procedures to reduce the present clot. These procedures are performed by vascular surgeons, specialists with specific training in dealing with the complex nature of DVTs. By reducing the “clot burden,” we can lessen symptoms, preserve vein function and restore flow to the lower extremity, which minimizes long-term complications later, such as persistent swelling, discoloration or wounds.
DVTs can affect the body for years after the initial event and almost one-third of patients develop a recurrent clot. However, current technology allows us to determine if veins affected by the DVT can be treated with minimally invasive techniques to improve flow and prevent recurrence. The evaluation, diagnosis and potential treatment of DVTs, whether acute or chronic, should be done by board certified vascular surgeons who specialize in these types of vascular conditions.
Where should I go to get treatment?
At Bloomfield Vein & Vascular, we have an extensive experience in dealing with DVTs. If you believe your leg symptoms need attention, we would be happy to evaluate you. If you have been told that nothing can be done to improve your leg swelling after having had a DVT, let us evaluate you and guide you through the steps to make your leg feel normal again.
Bloomfield Vein & Vascular
43700 Woodward Ave., suite 207, Bloomfield Hills