Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when blood clots begin to form in a deep vein rather than one closer to the surface. This usually happens in the legs.
Pain and swelling are common symptoms of DVT, but it often shows no symptoms at all. This can make it hard to detect, requiring a scan like those we do during our free vein screenings.
What causes DVT
There are some medical conditions that affect the blood’s ability to clot. These are the conditions that hasten the development of deep vein thrombosis. It can also be caused by lack of movement and a sedentary lifestyle. This happens often after surgical procedures where patients end up confined to bed.
How is deep vein thrombosis discovered?
Even though it is not always symptomatic, DVT is most often discovered when patients come in for symptom relief. You will have a physical inspection for the swelling it might be causing. It also causes tenderness and sometimes discoloration of skin.
If your doctor deems you to be at risk of a clot, there are a few tests they might suggest, including:
Very much like an ultrasound, you would have during pregnancy, a wand is used to scan the veins. This will help your doctor visualize what is going on underneath and see any blockages.
There is a substance called “D dimer” that is almost always shown at elevated levels in DVT patients.
A dye can be injected into a large vein in the foot or ankle. X-rays help to create images of the veins in question to look for blood clots. This imaging technique is only needed when ultrasound proves inconclusive.
CT or MRI
A CT scan or MRI can give us even deeper images of the body – including the veins. They can show clots as well if needed. Sometimes patients are scanned for other reasons and we find a clot that way.
Dangers of deep vein thrombosis and blood clots
With blood clots, there is always a danger present. They can break apart and travel through the bloodstream of the body. These moving blood clots can get lodged in the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism. This is a serious issue. Blood clots of all kinds and sizes need careful treatment.
Learn more about the services we offer by calling our North Center location at 773-231-9884 or our Downtown Chicago location at 312-234-0750