What is interventional radiology?

IRminigraphics-vein.jpg  Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in veins in the deep venous system. DVT usually occurs in the legs. The medical term for blood clot is thrombus.

Complications from DVT are serious, mostly due to the risk that pieces of the clot can break off and move to the lungs, blocking blood flow. A blockage in this area is called a pulmonary embolus (PE), which can be life threatening. DVT can cause lasting damage to affected veins, including post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). PTS causes chronic leg pain, fatigue and swelling. In severe cases, skin ulcerations can also occur. 


To speak with our nurse about IR treatments for DVT, call:
North Metro: 763.792.1980
South Metro: 952.345.4179


What are the risk factors for deep vein thrombosis?

Risk factors for DVT include:

  • Lack of movement, causing less blood to circulate. Examples include prolonged hospitalization or bed rest, after a very long airplane flight or car ride.
  • Injury or surgery to your veins
  • Pregnancy, which puts extra pressure on the veins in your pelvis and legs
  • Taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots
  • Family history of DVT or pulmonary embolism
  • Smoking
  • Overweight or obese

What are the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis?

Symptoms of DVT include:

  • Pain in the leg and foot
  • Warmth in the leg and foot
  • Tenderness and swelling of the leg and foot
  • Sometimes DVT occurs without any symptoms

What are the treatment options for deep vein thrombosis?

The primary treatment for blood clots is medications called anticoagulants (blood thinners). Blood thinners prevent clots from getting larger, and prevent the formation of new clots.

However, blood thinners do not break up or remove existing clots. Treating and removing a blood clot early relieves acute symptoms, and also reduces the chance of developing PTS. Interventional radiologists have the technical expertise and methods to remove clots. DVT treatment options by an interventional radiologist include:

  • Using a catheter and ultrasound imaging to direct treatment to the clot, called “catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) with EKOS”
  • Using a catheter and medication to remove the clot, called “pharmacomechanical CDT”
  • Using only a catheter to remove the clot, called “mechanical thrombectomy”

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