Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment

It is important to keep your blood flow healthy for your overall well-being. Your blood flows easily through your body, but sometimes a blood clot (or thrombus) can form and block this flow. This can lead to a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Let’s take a comprehensive look at this health issue, analysing its origins, symptoms, causes, therapies, and means of prevention and management. Timely DVT treatment is essential, as leaving it untreated could lead to severe complications.

All About Deep Vein Thrombosis

DVT refers to a clot that develops in a deep vein, most often in the legs. It is one of the many illnesses associated with venous thromboembolism and is rather frequent.

A blood clot forming in a deep vein can block blood flow and cause swelling, pain, and potentially dangerous complications: If not treated, DVT can lead to pulmonary embolism, where the blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs, blocking blood flow and causing death.

Most occurrences of pulmonary embolism are caused by DVTs, making them the third leading cause of mortality from cardiovascular illness after heart attacks and strokes. Prevention, early identification and treatment are key to minimising morbidity.

Furthermore, if someone develops a DVT and survives, they may experience a lifelong condition called post-thrombotic syndrome. This results in significant ongoing pain, swelling and increased risk of ulceration of the legs.

Understanding Symptoms of DVT

It is important to quickly identify the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis to receive timely diagnosis and treatment. Some common symptoms include:

  • You may experience pain or tenderness in your legs, which can be accompanied by swelling.
  • The affected area feels warm and looks red.
  • Veins becoming bigger or more noticeable.
  • Having a blue or discoloured cast to the skin.

Diagnosing DVT

Healthcare professionals use different diagnostic procedures to confirm a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These include:

Duplex Ultrasonography

Duplex ultrasonography uses ultrasound waves to non-invasively analyse venous blood flow. It has become the gold standard for diagnosing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) because of how well it reveals blockages or blood clots in the deep veins. By employing this method, doctors can see the veins and evaluate blood flow.

D-Dimer Blood Test

A D-dimer blood test quantifies a chemical in the blood that is produced after the dissolution of a blood clot. If the test is negative, the patient most likely does not have a blood clot. It can help rule out DVT as part of a screening process but is not a substitute for a proper diagnosis.

CT Venography

Dye is injected into a peripheral vein while a patient is scanned with specialised xrays in a ‘CT’ machine. It is sometimes referred to as a “cat’ scan.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Imaging techniques like MRI are sometimes used in the medical field for diagnosis of DVT.

Effective Treatments for Deep Vein Thrombosis

When you are diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, it is important to receive DVT treatment promptly. This is necessary to prevent any additional complications.

A vascular surgeon will discuss different treatment options with you:

Medications

  • Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, stop new clots from forming and slow the growth of existing ones. Heparin, warfarin, and direct oral anticoagulants are all examples of these drugs.
  • In life-threatening situations, doctors may employ thrombolytics, often known as clot-busting medications, to quickly break clots and restore blood flow.

Wearing Compression Socks

  • When worn on the injured limb, these elastic socks provide pressure to aid circulation and alleviate the swelling.

Invasive Surgical Procedures

  • Patients at high risk who cannot take anticoagulants may benefit from a minimally invasive technique called venous filter insertion to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs.
  • Thrombolysis – this can be done through a special catheter that is used to directly inject clot-busting medication into the DVT. The same catheter can then be used as a vacuum to suck the clot out of the affected vein.

Takeaway

To prevent and manage deep vein thrombosis, keeping your blood flow healthy is important.

To protect your cardiovascular health, learning about the causes, symptoms, and DVT treatments is important.

If you think you might have DVT, contact Dr Ling, a vascular surgeon in Melbourne who specialises in veins and arteries. He can provide expert advice and quick treatment, which often allows you to return to work the same day.