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Blood Clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis-DVT)

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body, usually in the legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling. Sometimes there are no noticeable symptoms.

You can get DVT if you have certain medical conditions that affect how the blood clots. A blood clot in the legs can also develop if you don't move for a long time. For example, you might not move a lot when traveling a long distance or when you're on bed rest due to surgery, an illness or an accident.

Deep vein thrombosis can be serious because blood clots in the veins can break loose. The clots can then travel through the bloodstream and get stuck in the lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).


  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) symptoms can include:
  • Leg swelling
  • Leg pain, cramping or soreness that often starts in the calf
  • Change in skin color on the leg — such as red or purple, depending on the color of your skin
  • A feeling of warmth on the affected leg
  • Deep vein thrombosis can occur without noticeable symptoms


There are three main goals to DVT treatment.

  • Prevent the clot from getting bigger.
  • Prevent the clot from breaking loose and traveling to the lungs.
  • Reduce the chances of another DVT

DVT treatment options include:

Blood thinners:

These medicines, also called anticoagulants, help prevent blood clots from getting bigger. Blood thinners reduce the risk of developing more clots.
Blood thinners may be taken by mouth or given by IV or an injection under the skin. There are many different types of blood-thinning drugs used to treat DVT. Together, you and your health care provider will discuss their benefits and risks to determine the best one for you.
You might need to take blood thinner pills for three months or longer. It's important to take them exactly as prescribed to prevent serious side effects.
People who take a blood thinner called warfarin (Jantoven) need regular blood tests to monitor levels of the drug in the body. Certain blood-thinning medications are not safe to take during pregnancy.

Clot busters (Thrombolytics):

These drugs are used for more-serious types of DVT or PE, or if other medications aren't working.
Clot busters are given by IV or through a tube (catheter) placed directly into the clot. They can cause serious bleeding, so they're usually only used for people with severe blood clots.


If you can't take medicines to thin your blood, a filter may be placed into a large vein — the vena cava — in your belly (abdomen). A vena cava filter prevents clots that break loose from lodging in the lungs.

Support stockings (compression stockings):

These special knee socks help prevent blood from pooling in the legs. They help reduce leg swelling. Wear them on your legs from your feet to about the level of your knees. For DVT, you typically wear these stockings during the day for a few years, if possible.

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