Deep Vein Thrombosis: Understanding the risks, causes and treatments

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), is a semi-emergency medical condition characterized by the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) within a deep vein, usually in the leg and thigh. Deep veins are the larger veins that are located deeper within the body.


How does DVT happen?

The process of DVT formation is influenced by various factors. Here's a general overview of how DVT happens:

Blood Clot Formation: Blood clots can form for various reasons, and the coagulation process is a normal part of the body's response to injury or damage. There are a number of anticoagulation factors and pro-coagulation factors in the blood and tissue. These factors are in balance to prevent unwanted blood formation and to form clots whenever required, as in situations of injury where bleeding needs to be stopped. The following conditions play a role in clot formation:

Stasis of Blood Flow: One of the key contributing factors to DVT is the slowing or stasis of blood flow. This can occur due to prolonged immobility, such as during long flights, bed rest, or extended periods of sitting at a desk. When blood flow slows down, especially in the deep veins of the legs, there is an increased risk of clot formation.

Injury or Trauma:Injury or trauma to the blood vessels can trigger the coagulation process by releasing pro-coagulation factors (as a part of normal physiological response to prevent bleeding). This can happen with surgery, fractures, or other types of damage to the blood vessel walls.

Hypercoagulability: Conditions that make the blood more prone to clotting, known as hypercoagulability, can contribute to DVT. This can be caused by genetic factors, certain medical conditions, or medications like OCP (oral contraceptive pills) or with hormone replacement therapy.

Who is at risk for DVT?

Several factors can increase the risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Some individuals may have a higher predisposition due to a combination of factors. Common risk factors for DVT include:

Prolonged Immobility:Long periods of immobility, such as during long flights, bed rest, or extended periods of sitting, can increase the risk of DVT by causing stasis or pooling of blood in legs.

Surgery and Trauma:Major surgery, especially joint replacement surgery, and traumatic injuries can elevate the risk of blood clots by releasing pro-coagulation factors.

Medical Conditions:Certain medical conditions and treatments can contribute to DVT. These include cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and inflammatory conditions which causes release of pro-coagulation factors from the disease tissue.

Age: The risk of DVT increases with age, with older adults being more susceptible.

Obesity:Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of DVT.

Smoking: Smoking has been associated with an increased risk of blood clots.

Genetic Factors:Some individuals may have an inherited predisposition to blood clotting disorders, making them more susceptible to DVT. E.g. protein S or C deficiency

Hormonal Factors:The use of hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, or rings) and hormone replacement therapy, especially in combination with other risk factors, can increase the risk of blood clots.

Hormonal Factors:The use of hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, or rings) and hormone replacement therapy, especially in combination with other risk factors, can increase the risk of blood clots.

Pregnancy: Pregnant women and women who have recently given birth are at a higher risk of DVT due to stasis and hormonal changes.

Varicose Veins: Varicose veins, especially if they are severe and associated with large varices, may contribute to the risk of DVT by the process of stasis.

Previous History of DVT: Individuals who have previously had DVT are at an increased risk of experiencing it again.

It's essential to be aware of the risk factors and take preventive measures, especially in situations where the risk of clot formation is elevated, such as during recovery from surgery or when immobile for extended periods. If you suspect DVT or experience symptoms, seeking medical attention promptly is crucial for diagnosis and treatment.

Does DVT need treatment?

Yes, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) typically requires treatment. The primary goals of treatment are to prevent the blood clot from growing larger, to reduce the risk of the clot breaking loose and causing a pulmonary embolism, and to prevent the formation of additional blood clots.

What are the treatments for DVT?

The treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) typically involves anticoagulant medications (blood thinners), Compression therapy, lifestyle modifications, and, in some cases, additional interventions.

Here's a more detailed breakdown of the treatments for DVT:

Anticoagulant Medications (Blood Thinners):
  • Heparin or Heparin like products: Often used initially in the hospital setting, either through injection or intravenously, to quickly prevent further clotting.
  • Warfarin: A common oral anticoagulant used for long-term treatment. It takes some time to reach therapeutic levels, so it is usually overlapped with heparin initially. It is a vitamin K antagonist.
  • Direct Oral Anticoagulants (DOACs):These newer medications, such as rivaroxaban, apixaban, dabigatran, and edoxaban (not available in India), are taken orally and may not require regular monitoring like warfarin.
Compression Stockings:
  • Graduated compression stockings help reduce swelling and improve blood circulation in the affected leg. They are commonly recommended to prevent post-thrombotic syndrome.
Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter:
  • In rare cases, an IVC filter may be considered if there is a high risk of pulmonary embolism and anticoagulant therapy is contraindicated or insufficient. The filter is placed in the inferior vena cava to catch blood clots before they reach the lungs.
Thrombolytic Therapy:
  • This involves the administration of medications (thrombolytics) to dissolve blood clots. Thrombolytic therapy is usually reserved for severe cases of DVT and is not commonly used due to an increased risk of bleeding and invasive nature of the procedure.

Life style modifications:

Elevation of the Leg:
  • Keeping the affected leg elevated helps reduce swelling and promotes blood flow..
Physical Activity:
  • Gradual, supervised physical activity, as advised by healthcare professionals, can prevent complications and promote overall health. However, activities that might increase the risk of injury or bleeding should be avoided.
Supportive Measures:

Pain management and measures to alleviate discomfort, such as warm compresses, may be used as supportive measures. The specific treatment plan for DVT varies depending on factors such as the location and size of the clot, the individual's overall health, and any underlying medical conditions.

It's important for individuals with DVT to follow their healthcare provider's instructions, attend regular check-ups, and report any new or worsening symptoms promptly. If you suspect DVT or have been diagnosed, seek medical attention promptly to initiate appropriate treatment.

Comprehensive DVT Treatment at One Stop Vascular Solutions

At One Stop Vascular Solutions, we understand the importance of timely and effective treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Our dedicated team of vascular specialists is committed to providing comprehensive solutions tailored to your vascular health needs. Discover how our state-of-the-art treatments can bring relief and restore your vascular well-being.

Why Choose One Stop Vascular Solutions for DVT Treatment?

Experienced Vascular Specialists: Our team comprises experienced and skilled vascular specialists (Vascular Surgeons ad Interventional radiologists) dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care.

Cutting-edge Technology: Leveraging state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technologies to ensure superior outcomes. We are the only Vascular surgery department in South India to have in-house Angiojet, IVUS and Penumbra devices for the best treatment of DVT in our state of the art Hybrid theatre.

Patient-Centric Approach: Your comfort, well-being, and active participation in your care are at the forefront of our approach.

Comprehensive Services Under One Roof: From diagnostics to treatment and ongoing care, find all your vascular solutions conveniently in one place.

Contact Us Today:

Ready to take the first step toward optimal vascular health? Contact One Stop Vascular Solutions today to schedule your consultation. Let us be your partner in the journey to a healthier, more vibrant life.