Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
What is DVT?
Deep Venous Thrombosis is the formation of blood clot in the deep veins, most commonly the legs. The clot may cause the blood to back up in the veins and result in pain and swelling.
What are some of the risk factors for developing DVT?
- Birth Control Pills
- Family history of blood clotting disorders
- Increased weight
- Prolonged inactivity such as extended sitting during a plane or car ride or after a fracture or surgery
- Cigarette smoking
How is DVT diagnosed?
Detecting DVT on a physical exam can be very difficult, and imaging tests are an important part of the work up. Duplex ultrasound imaging is the primary diagnostic tool utilized to diagnose DVT. In the uncommon situations where ultrasound imaging cannot make the diagnosis other tests may be utilized. Some deep veins in the body such as in the pelvis and abdomen can be more difficult to image with ultrasound , and magnetic resonance venography (MRV), which relies on magnetic waves for imaging can be useful. When the diagnosis remains uncertain, or for areas that may be difficult to image with ultrasound or magnetic resonance, a venogram may be necessary. A venogram is performed by placing an intravenous catheter in the extremity and x-ray dye is injected while x-rays are taken. CT scanning (computerized tomography) during x-ray dye injection can also be helpful in certain situations.