Deep Vein Thrombosis

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The cardiovascular system is a series of interconnected blood vessels that transport blood throughout the body. Arteries are muscular vessels that deliver blood under pressure, pressure that is created by the pumping of the heart. Capillaries are thin blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the organs and tissues, but also collect waste products from the tissue. Veins then carry this blood back to the heart to complete the cycle.

Problems with any of these blood vessels can be quite serious. While most people know about atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries,” problems with the veins can be just as serious and life threatening. One of the more serious problems with venous function (the function of veins) is deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT is a clot in a deep vein that prevents blood from freely moving through that vein.

More than Just Pain in the Leg

We have all seen blood clotting after we have experienced a cut in the skin. While this type of clotting is helpful because it stops bleeding, clotting within a blood vessel is harmful. A blood clot in a deep vein in the leg, for example, will cause an increase in blood pressure within the affected vein1. The affected vein will become swollen or enlarged, which may cause pain and swelling in the leg. If the clot breaks free from the vein in the leg, it may travel to the lungs. A blood clot that lodges in the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism and can be fatal. Therefore, early diagnosis and effective deep vein thrombosis treatment is essential to avoid pain, disability, and serious complications.

The pain you are experiencing in your leg could be more than just a sign of overworked muscles. Learning more about DVT is important so you will know what to do and where to seek deep vein thrombosis treatment.

Causes of DVT

Results of scientific and clinical research have revealed some of the factors that increase the risk of developing DVT. The most common DVT causes include2,3:

  • Poor blood circulation
  • Increased pressure in the leg vein
  • Formation of blood clot in the vein
  • Damage to the blood vessels

Risk Factors

  • Have a family history of DVT
  • Have a family history of a blood clotting disorder
  • Are overweight
  • Had an injury that damaged your vein
  • Had a surgery involving the leg veins
  • Have been immobilized for a long period
  • Are a smoker
  • Have stayed in bed or in the hospital for a long time

 DVT Symptoms

In some cases, DVT can be asymptomatic, meaning you may not experience any symptoms at all. When DVT symptoms are present, they usually include one or more of the following4:

  • Increased temperature in the leg
  • Changes in skin color
  • Pain and swelling in the leg
  • Tenderness of the calf
  • Enlarged and/or painful veins 

Complications

Early detection and treatment are necessary to prevent serious complications. If left untreated, DVT can cause pulmonary embolism, post-thrombotic syndrome, and ankle ulcer. Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a serious condition that affects as many as half of all DVT patients across the globe5. These complications could lead to partial or permanent disability and even death. It is advisable to consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

DVT Treatment

Doctors are now able to diagnose and treat venous disease at early stages, including DVT. DVT treatment options include medications to thin the blood, compression stockings, a filter placed inside the vena cava to “catch” blood clots before they travel to the lungs, and vein stents.

  • Blood Thinners. Your doctor may prescribe medications, called anticoagulants, that will inhibit blood clotting. Anticoagulants help reduce your chance of developing new clots inside your leg veins. On the other hand, the use of anticoagulants increases your risk of bleeding.
  • Compression Stockings. Wearing these products every day can help reduce swelling in the affected leg, improve the return of blood from the extremities to the heart, and relieve pain.
  • Filters. Vena cava filters are inserted through a vein in the leg and placed in the inferior vena cava, a large vein just below the right side of the heart. These filters do not prevent or treat DVTs, but they do serve to “catch” a clot that breaks free from a DVT before it can reach the blood vessels in the lungs. Filters are usually reserved for patients who cannot take anticoagulants and/or have severe, chronic blood clotting problems.
  • Stent. Doctors place a stent inside the affected vein to keep it open so the blood can pass freely. This innovative procedure provides promising results6.

DVT Prevention

If you have or had a DVT, you are at increased risk of developing another DVT7. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, reach and maintain a healthy weight, and follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medications and the use of compression stockings. Walking regularly and raising your leg while resting also help reduce the chances of developing a second DVT.

How VENITI Can Help

VENITI continues to provide reliable technologies to doctors and deliver effective treatment solutions for venous disease patients across the globe. Our innovations result in improvements to our existing products and the development of new medical devices. We strive to make DVT a more manageable condition and we rely on research and technology to realize that goal. We work with scientists, medical professionals, and investors to improve the quality of services that we provide. Growing our network is part of our operational plan. Among our latest products is the VICI VENOUS STENT® System, an innovative device designed to help improve blood circulation by keeping the leg veins open. It offers a unique combination of crush resistance, vessel wall coverage, flexibility, and ease of use. We developed this device with the needs and safety of patients in mind.

References

  1. Eberhardt RT, Raffetto JD. Chronic venous insufficiency. Circulation. Jul 22 2014;130(4):333-346.
  2. Prandoni P, Lensing AW, Cogo A, et al. The long-term clinical course of acute deep venous thrombosis. Ann Intern Med. Jul 1 1996;125(1):1-7.
  3. Thomas D. Venous thrombogenesis. Br Med Bull. Oct 1994;50(4):803-812.
  4. Goodacre S. In the clinic. Deep venous thrombosis. Ann Intern Med. Sep 2 2008;149(5):ITC3-1.
  5. Markel A. Origin and natural history of deep vein thrombosis of the legs. Semin Vasc Med. Feb 2005;5(1):65-74.
  6. Srinivas BC, Kolhari VB, Agrawal N, et al. Dramatic recovery of chronic non-healing ulcer secondary to recurrent unprovoked DVT by venous stenting. BMJ Case Rep. 2014;2014.
  7. Baglin T, Bauer K, Douketis J, et al. Duration of anticoagulant therapy after a first episode of an unprovoked pulmonary embolus or deep vein thrombosis: guidance from the SSC of the ISTH. J Thromb Haemost. Apr 2012;10(4):698-702.

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