The diagnosis of DVT is made by physical examination and testing, the tests may include:
- Doppler ultrasound exam of the suspected limb.
- Blood tests: which include D-dimer, other blood tests may be done to test if there is increased blood clotting.
- Leg venography: it is an X-ray done to show the veins in the leg.
- The standard treatment is using medications called blood thinners (anticoagulant), such as Heparin which is given intravenously and Warfarin which is given orally and used for long term treatment, Warfarin needs time to be fully effective and that is why it is given while the patient is still on Heparin. When the patient is started on Warfarin, Lab tests will be needed to check the thickness of blood.
- Thrombolytic therapy: this is done by injecting drugs that lyses the clot.
- Catheter directed to remove the clot.
- Placement of a filter in the inferior vena cava (largest vein in the body) to prevent the clot from traveling to the lung.
You should seek medical help immediately if you have a history of DVT and develop symptoms such as chest pain, breathing difficulty, fainting, coughing blood or other symptoms.
- Stop smoking.
- Encourage early mobilization in admitted patients who require extended hospital stay.
- In any condition that requires long time sitting ie, long plane trips or long period of time lying in bed, the person should try to move his/her legs to avoid stagnation of blood which increase the risk for developing DVT.
- Blood thinners, these medications decrease the thickness of blood and decrease the incidence of clot formation; they may be prescribed for Patients who are at high risk of developing deep venous thrombosis.
- Pneumatic compression device: these are devices that may be used to decrease the incidence of deep venous thrombosis. They are prescribed for patients in the hospital who are at risk of developing deep venous thrombosis. The sleeves of the device are attached to the calves of the patient. The sleeves periodically squeeze the calves preventing blood from stagnating. A blood clot may occur if the blood is stagnant. If you leave the bed ie, to walk or visit the restroom, you have to make sure that the device is reconnected when you return to your bed as these devices should be worn all the time.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.