To put it simply, Deep Vein Thrombosis is a blood clot. Usually when a blood clot occurs, it is not really harmful. However, when the same clot occurs in one of the deeper veins (as opposed to superficial veins) it has the potential of being life threatening.
Deep veins are located deep within the bodies’ muscles. Veins don’t have significant muscle linings to push blood back to the heart. Normally this is done with the help of the larger muscles in the body. When this process is hampered, the blood stagnates and clots.
So why are these clots so dangerous? These clots can cause permanent damage to the valves in the veins. They are most dangerous however if they dislodge and affect other parts of the body such as the pulmonary arteries. When this happens it can prevent blood from flowing through the lungs and decrease the amount of Oxygen being distributed through the body. These clots most often occur in the limbs.
Some symptoms to look out for: Listed are a few classic symptoms. However you may not have all of them at the same time. If you notice any of these symptoms, notify your doctor at once.
A) Swelling of legs (one or both)
B) Calf pain
C) Swelling over feet
D) Gradually increasing pain and swelling
E) Difficulty in walking
F) Occasional chest pain
G) Difficulty in breathing
A doctor will confirm DVT by doing a physical examination or by asking a radiologist to perform a Peripheral Venous Doppler test.
Who is at risk? DVT is known to affect people who are inactive for long periods of time. Anybody who has had a recent injury or surgery that could reduce blood flow to a body part may develop DVT. It could also happen in older people, pregnant women and smokers. Obesity is yet another risk factor.
Vircohws Triad: In many cases DVT is difficult to detect. It is for this reason that doctors work towards preventing the development of DVT especially if you have a lower extremity surgery. In orthopedic situations there are three main factors that contribute to the formation of blood clots. i.e. – Hypercoagulability, Stasis of blood and Dysfunction of the lining of blood.
Hypercoagulability is when the blood thickens or coagulates around matter that does not belong in the veins. This could be matter such as tissue debris or fat that could have been released in the blood stream during surgery.
Statis is blood that flows slowly through the veins. When blood flows slowly it is not flowing freely and hence does not mix with anticoagulants making it more likely for clots to form. And a dysfunction in the lining of blood usually occurs due to trauma or irritation.
How to avoid DVT: Irrespective of whether you are at risk or not here are a few ways to avoid DVT.
• Drink more than 3 liters of water over a period of 24 hours
• Walk regularly
• Avoid sitting in one place for long hours especially while travelling or working
• Quite smoking / tobacco.
How Ranka Hospital Approaches DVT: When 48year old, Sushant Saxena complained of acute breathlessness and chest pain, our first reaction was to check his vitals. His respiratory rate was 38/min. That apart his calf was tender and had been swollen for the last two days. He had poor oxygenation tachycardia as well. We immediately did an urgent CT- Pulmonary Angio which revealed pulmonary embolism. A peripheral Doppler confirmed D.V.T. Mr.Saxena was treated in the ICU with artificial ventilation and blood thinning injections.
This was just one instance of how we deal with DVT. Of course every case is different but our teams of specialists are trained to identify and tackle such emergencies.