Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a potentially life threatening condition that occurs in patients post operatively, or in those taking certain medications. A blood clot called a thrombus may form in a vein that is deep inside your body, most often in your legs.
When movement is restricted, such as when recovering from a surgical procedure, the muscles that normally aid blood flow are still. Without intervention, DVT may occur in over 40% of patients undergoing hip or knee arthroplasty. Additionally, patients using hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, or those who smoke cigarettes may have increased clotting as a result. Other factors like obesity and inherited blood disorders can combine to increase risk of DVT causing serious harm or death.
DVT may present with swelling, redness, or pain, or may be asymptomatic. Diagnosing DVT can be difficult as symptoms may be mistaken for other ailments. Prevention is critical to mitigate risk of a thrombus breaking free and traveling to the lungs.