A Guide to DVT Treatment
DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis, a serious condition that affects many Australians every year. Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg. A blood clot is accompanied by a range of significant risks, and if left untreated, DVT can be life-threatening.
Dr Adrian Ling is a Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon with extensive experience treating DVT and related conditions. His many years spent working in vascular medicine enables him to quickly diagnose DVT and identify which DVT treatment option is best given your specific set of circumstances.
What is DVT?
DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, occurs when a blood clot (also known as a thrombus) forms in one of your legs.
For some people, DVT will be accompanied by a range of symptoms, including leg pain and swelling. For others, there will be no signs that anything is amiss.
Blood clots can occur in the leg for many reasons. Certain conditions can require you to take medication that increases your risk of clotting. Long periods of inactivity can reduce blood flow, causing a clot to form. Injury to the blood vessels in the leg can also result in this condition.
There are also a number of risk factors that significantly increase your likelihood of developing DVT. While DVT can affect people of all ages, being older certainly exposes you to greater risk. Having a family history of DVT or blood clotting can increase the likelihood of you developing the condition. If your occupation requires you to sit for long periods of time — such as a truck driver — you may also be more likely to develop DVT.
While DVT is a serious condition, there are a number of different treatment options that can break up a clot and reduce your risk of developing blood clots in the future.
How is DVT diagnosed?
If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, it is important that you immediately seek medical assistance. Left untreated, a blood clot can travel through your bloodstream to your heart and lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Blood clots that make their way to the brain can also cause a stroke.
● Swelling in the leg. This will usually occur in the affected leg — rarely will both legs be swollen.
● Cramp-like pain in the leg.
● Skin discolouration.
● Unusual warmth in the leg.
To arrive at a diagnosis, the doctor will ask you a series of questions about your health and family history before conducting a physical exam. Dr Ling also works closely with highly qualified haemotologists, meaning his patients benefit from comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment options for DVT
There are several different DVT treatment options. Dr Ling will make a recommendation based on a range of factors, including the severity of your condition and any pre-existing health concerns.
To start with, DVT can be treated using blood-thinning medication. This medication does not dissolve a clot but can prevent it from getting bigger whilst reducing the risk of any additional clots developing.
‘Clot-busting medication’ can also be sprayed directly into the affected vein via a catheter. The clot is then sucked out from the vein. This is considered to be a minimally invasive treatment but is reserved for more serious cases of DVT.
It’s important to note that there are ongoing complications associated with DVT. Post-thrombotic syndrome, for example, can occur in the weeks following a diagnosis and treatment of DVT. Characterised by chronic aching and swelling of the legs, and the development of unpleasant ulcers, post-thrombotic syndrome can seriously impact your quality of life.
Minimally invasive treatment, such as blood-thinning or clot-busting medication, is recommended to avoid the more serious complications associated with post-thrombotic syndrome.
Dr Ling is a highly-qualified Vascular and Endovascular surgeon, meaning that he will recommend a treatment option that is based on your specific circumstances. Given the potential severity of DVT, it’s important that you seek expert assistance as soon as possible. Contact Dr Ling today to learn more about DVT treatment options and how Dr Ling can get you back on your feet as soon as possible.