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.
Risk factors for DVT include:
Symptoms of DVT include:
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: