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Burns and the Risk of Deep Venous Thrombosis DVT (Part I)

Patients with burns especially those with second and third degree burns may need to be hospitalized as part of the healing process;  immobilization for an extended period of time may increase the risk of developing DVT . Infection of the burn wound and burn on the limbs affected by the DVT may also be among the risk factors for DVT (Wahl and Brandt, 2001). High total body surface area burn percentage and patients needing central venous line or multiple surgeries and/or blood transfusions are also at risk (Mullins et al., 2013).

DVT is a medical condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the body. Most of the blood clots happen in the large veins in the lower legs and thigh. These clots can block the veins leading to restricted blood flow or may break off and move through the circulatory system leading to serious problems depending on which organ is affected. A DVT may cause pulmonary embolism if it goes to the lung, it may cause heart attack if it goes to the heart or it may cause a stroke if it goes to the brain.

Deep venous thrombosis may be caused by:

  • Factors that cause change in the blood velocity.
  • Factors that cause change in the consistency of blood
  • Factors that cause damage to the lining of the vessel.

Other possible risk factors for developing DVT may include:

  • Prolonged bed rest.
  • Sitting for a long period of time such as on a long plane ride.
  • Recent surgery.
  • Giving birth within the last 6 months.
  • Medications such as contraceptive pills.
  • Smoking cigarette.
  • Obesity.
  • Fractures
  • Hypercoagulability: increase the liability of blood to form clots.
  • Conditions that lead to increase the production of red blood cells.
  • Cancer.

Signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:

  • Skin redness over the affected limb.
  • Warmth (to touch) over the affected limb as compared to the other limb.
  • Pain in the affected limb.
  • Tenderness in the affected limb.
  • Edema (swelling) in the affected limb.

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.



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