Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Q & A


 

Blood clots are often silent but can be deadly. Deep vein thrombosis is a type of blood clot that develops in the deep veins of the leg. Dr. Youssef Rizk of the Vascular and Endovascular Institute of Michigan in Clinton Township offers diagnosis and treatment for this life threatening and common condition.

What puts someone at risk of deep vein thrombosis?

Several factors increase an individual's risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Some of these include:

  • Immobility
  • Bed rest
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Hip or leg fractures
  • Pelvic surgery
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Varicose veins
  • Certain cancers
  • Smoking

Patients who have these risk factors should talk to Dr. Rizk to learn more about deep vein thrombosis.

What symptoms of deep vein thrombosis do patients notice?

Approximately half of the patients with this condition notice no symptoms until the vein becomes blocked. However, some may notice symptoms like:

  • Swelling in the leg or foot
  • Warmth and redness in the leg
  • Leg pain
  • Leg cramps at night
  • Blue color to the legs or toes

Patients with any of these symptoms need to be seen right away.

What problems can occur from deep vein thrombosis?

The biggest risk with deep vein thrombosis is the risk of pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke. When a piece of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, heart, or brain, it can stop blood flow and cause these serious medical issues.

How is this condition diagnosed?

Dr. Rizk performs tests to determine if a patient has a blood clot and where it's located  using:

  • Impedance plethysmography (IPG): Noninvasive test that measures blood volume changes
  • Duplex Ultrasound: Traditional ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound used to make images of the affected area
  • Contrast venography: And injection of contrast fluid allows an X-Ray of veins. Contrast venography is used when other tests don't clearly show the problem.

How is deep vein thrombosis treated?

If Dr. Rizk finds deep vein thrombosis, he'll create a treatment protocol that will prevent more clots from developing, reduce the risk of complications from the clot, and allow time for the clot to dissolve. For most patients this starts with blood thinning medication. Patients may be placed on bed rest to reduce the risk of the clot breaking and flowing through the body.

Patients who can't use blood thinners may have a filter inserted into the vena cava in the abdomen. A filter will stop the clot from moving past the abdomen to the brain or lungs should a piece break loose. Patients should make an appointment with Dr. Rizk to discuss the potential treatment options for deep vein thrombosis.

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