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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
What is a deep vein thrombosis?
A deep vein thrombosis (also called DVT) happens when a blood clot forms in a deeplying vein, usually in the leg. Such a clot may break loose, travel in your bloodstream and block arteries in your lungs or other parts of the body, causing permanent damage or sometimes death.
How does it happen?
A DVT may happen when your blood moves through deep veins in your legs more slowly than normal, or when there is some thing that makes your blood more likely to clot. When you are moving around less, such as after surgery, or when you sit still for a long period of time, such as during a long plane flight, your blood moves through your veins more slowly. Blood pools in the larger veins of the legs, and clots may form. Injury, major illness and some medicines may also increase the tendency for your blood to clot.
Who gets deep vein thrombosis?
Your risk of getting a DVT increases if you have certain conditions.
Some of these may include:
· you are off your feet more than usual or on bedrest
· you are inactive or sit for long periods of time
· fractures of the hip or leg
· orthopedic or pelvic surgery
· congestive heart failure
· varicose veins
· leg swelling
· some cancers
· you are going to have a baby and it is the last
· few months of your pregnancy
· you have just given birth to a baby
· you are on hormone therapy, including birth
· control pills
· you smoke cigarettes AND have any of these risks
What are the symptoms of DVT?
· swelling in the calf, ankle, foot or thigh
· increased warmth of the leg
· pain in the leg
· night leg cramps
· bluish color on the skin on the leg or toes
About half of the people with DVT have no symptoms until a clot blocks a major vein. Because other conditions like inflammation of the veins just under the skin (called phlebitis), muscle strains and skin infections may have symptoms like those of a DVT, it may be hard to diagnose.