Kaleida Health logo

Vascular Services
Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism Management

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) refers to a blood clot in the deep veins of the body, most commonly the legs. There are many risk factors that increase the risk of developing blood clots, including, but not limited to immobility, a prior history of blood clots, surgery, and cancer, as well as advanced age.

This is a potentially dangerous condition. If a clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, it can cut off the blood flow, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal. Blood clots in the legs can also cause long-term problems within the legs, leading to skin discoloration, swelling, and even ulcers.

What are the symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Symptoms can include:

  • Swelling of the leg
  • Pain in the leg

What are the symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism?

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Chest pain when taking a breath
  • Rapid pulse
  • Sweating

How is Deep Vein Thrombosis diagnosed?

Diagnosis includes:

  • Ultrasound
  • Cat scan
  • MRI
  • Venography
  • Blood test

What are the treatment options for Deep Vein Thrombosis?

The most common treatment options are blood thinners such as heparin and Coumadin. For more serious DVTs, those that involve the veins in the stomach or chest area, clot busters can be intravenously fed into the patient to dissolve the clots and restore flow and function to the veins.  Filters can also be inserted into the vena cava, the main vein in the stomach area, to block clots from traveling to the lungs in patients that are unable to take blood thinners. To reduce risk of DVTs, compression socks can be worn.