I was told I have a Deep Vein Thrombosis-DVT, what does that mean?
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the veins in the deep venous system. There are 2 types of veins in the legs, deep and superficial. Deep veins are deep within the muscle and are responsible for 90% of the blood return from the legs to the lungs and heart. These veins are necessary for life. Superficial veins are in the subcutaneous tissue and are not needed, therefore can be treated. Blood clots occur when the blood thickens and sticks together. A blood clot in the deep veins can break off and travel up through the bloodstream, becoming an embolism. The most serious and immediate concern is a pulmonary embolism, which is when the blood clot travels to an artery in the lungs and blocks blood flow. This can cause damage to the lungs or other organs and can cause death. A blood clot in the thigh is more likely to break off than a clot in the lower legs. A DVT is diagnosed by a venous ultrasound of the leg. A physician will decide if a blood thinner is needed for treatment of the blood clot based on a variety of factors. If a blood clot is suspected, an ultrasound is necessary immediately and a physician should be notified.