Have you ever complained of a painful red swollen leg?

This could have been a Deep Vein Thrombosis, otherwise known as a DVT. A DVT is a partial or complete occlusion of a vein by a thrombus with secondary inflammatory reaction in the wall of the vein. In other words, it is a clot in your veins.  Roughly 80% of the time, these clots arise in the deep veins of the calf.

There are many possible causes of blood clots including immobilization, surgery, obesity, pregnancy, birth control and advanced age. These clots are dangerous because they can break apart and move through the bloodstream and end up in your lungs, which can potentially be fatal.

Usually symptoms will arise over a period of hours to days. The patient typically complains of a red, swollen, warm and painful leg.  We sometimes notice distension of the superficial veins.  Some patients will also report mild fevers with increased heart rate. The gold standard in diagnosing a DVT is the venous ultrasound. It creates a picture of the flow of blood through the vein. DVTs are serious and should be immediately treated in order to prevent the possibly of death.  Anticoagulants, otherwise known as blood thinners, are the most common type of treatment for DVT. Talk with your health specialist about the different treatment options.

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