Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep Vein Thrombosis is the medical term for a blood clot. This condition can occur when one or more blood clots form within the deep veins of the circulatory system (most commonly in the legs). It can result in swelling, tenderness and pain in the legs but often times presents no noticeable symptoms.

DVT is more likely to develop if you have certain medical conditions which effect blood clotting. It can also take place if you are sedentary for an extended period of time, such as being confined to bed rest, if you are taking hormone therapy or are late term in a pregnancy. DVT risk is also heightened if you are over 60, smoke, are overweight or sit for extended periods of time.

It is a condition that needs to be taken seriously. Blood clots in your veins are unpredictable and can break loose allowing them to travel through your veins and if the clot reaches your lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms can be life-threatening, but prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death. The very best treatment is prevention. If you suspect, you may have deep vein issues consult a specialist as soon as possible.


What are the signs that you may be experiencing a blood clot or possible serious venous issue?

  • Abnormally warm or red skin on one or both legs
  • Swelling in one or both legs
  • Pain or tenderness in one or both legs (seated, standing or walking)
  • Visible veins
  • Tired legs


When to consider going straight to the ER

  • Sudden coughing (especially if you are not otherwise sick) This type of cough may produce blood
  • You experience sharp chest pains
  • Your breathing becomes more rapid and you become short of breath
  • You become severely lightheaded


What tests are used to diagnose DVT?

A duplex ultrasound is a painless noninvasive test. The doctor spreads warm gel on your skin and then rubs a wand over the area where the clot is suspected. Ultrasound sends sound waves into your body and relays the echoes to a computer, which shows images of your blood vessels and if there is a clot. Ultrasound is most compatible with medium to surface vein issues.

Another avenue with which to be able to detect clots is called Venography. Venography is a specialized X-ray that is taken along with a radioactive dye injection that is placed into a vein on the top of your foot. This allows the vein to be seen visibly and is very easy to detect a clot. It’s more accurate than an ultrasound.

If it is suspected the clot may be housed within your pelvis or thighs where the body is thicker your doctor may opt to use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology. During an MRI you will lie very still on a narrow table that slides into the imaging tube. Inside of the encasement radio waves and a strong magnetic field create a detailed picture of the inside of your body visible for analysis on the computer screen for the technicians and doctor to go over.

What happens if you are found to have a blood clot?

Tampa Cardiology Associates recommend and perform various procedures for the treatment of DVT:

Surgical or non-surgical removal of blood clots. The Tampa Cardiology Associates are experienced in non-surgical catheter-based techniques of clot removal from both the legs and the lungs (AngioJet, Catheter directed thrombolytics (clot busting medications) and Angiovac).


IVC Filter Placement
An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a temporary medical device that is required if  a patient cannot tolerate blood thinners. The IVC filter is implanted to trap blood clots, preventing them from traveling to the lungs where they can become life-threatening.


DVT is often treated with anti-coagulants (blood thinners). These medications help in preventing existing clots from growing larger and any future clots from taking form.


Simple actions or lifestyle changes can often make a world of difference in some DVT patients after the initial clot is treated to prevent future clots. Recommended home treatments can include adding in frequent walks daily, elevating the legs, and wearing compression stockings. It is important to note that DVT cannot be cured with at home therapy but lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms and prevent future complications from occurring.


Blood clots are not a condition where a wait and see tactic is in the best interest of your health, if you are having any of these symptoms to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. Tampa Cardiovascular Associates invite you to call us at 813-975-2800 or contact us through the web. If it is an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest ER.

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