Deep Vein Thrombosis

By: Rajni Badhan, Shakira Scott

What is deep vein thrombosis?

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the body, usually in the legs. Those who are over the age of 60, smoke regularly, overweight, or even sit down for long periods of time, are at a higher risk of having DVT.

Deep vein Thrombosis is also referred to as:

  • Blood clot in the leg.
  • Thrombophlebitis.
  • Venous thrombosis.
  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE)


Half the time, DVT causes no symptoms

  • Swelling in one or both legs

  • Pain or tenderness in one or both legs, even if it's just when you stand or walk

  • Warm skin on your leg

  • Red or discolored skin on your leg

  • Veins you can see

  • Tired legs

DVT can lead to PE, which has the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Bloody cough


How deep vein thrombosis (DVT) forms

Your doctor will diagnose deep vein thrombosis (DVT) based on your medical history, a physical exam, and test results. He or she will identify your risk factors and rule out other causes of your symptoms.For some people, DVT might not be diagnosed until after they receive emergency treatment for pulmonary embolism.

Different Tests for diagnosis:

  • Duplex ultrasound

  • Venography

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)


DVT often goes away without a problem, but the condition can return.Some people have long-term pain and swelling in leg called post-phlebitic syndrome.

Based on follow up studies with patients who had a DVT or PE, it is estimated that about 25% will have another episode. This risk can be decreased by anticoagulation therapy (taking a blood thinner). DVT is only life threatening if it leads to pulmonary embolism (PE), which can cause sudden death.


DVT is usually treated with anticoagulant medicines. These medicines are often called blood thinners, but they do not actually thin the blood. They prevent blood clots by increasing the time it takes a blood clot to form.

Also, anticoagulants help prevent existing blood clots from becoming larger. The length of time to take anticoagulants will vary based on your own health, where the blood clot is in your leg, and your risk for a pulmonary embolism.


Updated by: Rita Nanda, A. T. A. E. T.

Updated by: Rita Nanda, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. "Deep Venous Thrombosis: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia" N. p., 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.,. "Deep Vein Thrombosis And Pulmonary Embolism Quiz Faqs - Frequently Asked Questions - Medicinenet". N. p., 2016. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.


WebMD,. "Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center". N. p., 2016. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.