Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep venous thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep inside a part of the body. It mainly affects the large veins in the lower leg and thigh. Causes When a clot breaks off and moves through the bloodstream, this is called an embolism. An embolism can get stuck in the brain, lungs, heart, or other area, leading to severe damage. Blood clots may form when something slows or changes the flow of blood in the veins. Risk factors include: •A pacemaker catheter that has been passed through the vein in the groin •Bedrest •Family history of blood clots •Fractures in the pelvis or legs Giving birth within the last 6 months •Obesity •Recent surgery (most commonly hip, knee, or female pelvic surgery) •Too many blood cells being made by the bone marrow, causing the blood to be thicker and slower than normal Blood is more likely to clot in someone who has certain problems or disorders, such as: •Cancer •Certain autoimmune disorders, such as lupus •Cigarette smoking •Conditions in which you are more likely to develop blood clots •Taking estrogens or birth control pills (this risk is even higher if you smoke) Sitting for long periods when traveling can increase the risk of DVTs.

This is most likely when you also have one or more of the risk factors listed above. TREATMENT The doctor will give you medicine to thin your blood which are called anticoagulants. This will keep more clots from forming or old ones from getting bigger. These drugs cannot dissolve clots you already have. The medications are Heparin or Warfarin. Heparin is usually the first drug you will receive. •If heparin is given through a vein (IV), you must stay in the hospital. •Newer forms of heparin can be given by injection once or twice a day. You ay not need to stay in the hospital as long, or at all, if you are prescribed this newer form of heparin. Warfarin (Coumadin) is usually started along with heparin. •Warfarin is taken by mouth. It takes several days to fully work. •Heparin is not stopped until the warfarin has been at the right dose for at least 2 days. •You will most likely take warfarin for at least 3 months. Some people must take it longer, or even for the rest of their lives, depending on their risk for another clot. When you are taking warfarin, you are more likely to bleed, even from activities you have always done.

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Pressure stockings improves blood flow in your legs, and reduces your risk for complications from blood clots. In rare cases, surgery may be required if medicines do not work. Surgery may involve: •Placing a filter in the body’s largest vein to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs •Removing a large blood clot from the vein or injecting clot-busting medicines References Deep vein thrombosis. (n. d. ). Retrieved April 24, 2013, from http://www. nlm. nih. gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000156. htm