Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is deep vein thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which the blood clots or forms a thrombus in one of the deep veins in your body. Often called thrombophlebitis. This occurs primarily in the lower extremities. Risk factors include:
- Stagnation e.g. traveling by plane or car for over three hours
- Lying in bed for hours e.g. post surgery recovery
- A change in blood chemistry e.g. taking hormones, certain prescriptions or having transfusions during surgery
- Trauma e.g. a car accident or broken bone
- Genetic blood clotting disorders
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition because a blood clot that has formed in your vein can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow which (referred to as a pulmonary embolism). Every year, approximately 2 million people will develop deep vein thrombosis and around 200,000 of them die. DVT kills more people than aids, breast cancer and motor vehicle accidents combined.
What are the symptoms?DVT can occur without any noticeable symptoms. This makes it even more important to understand the risk factors and prevent the development of DVT in the first place.
Talk to a doctor immediately if you had any risk factors and experience the following:
- Swelling in the affected leg
- Pain in the affected leg (it often starts in the calf and can feel like cramping)
- Discolored skin on the leg
- A warm sensation in the affected leg
The symptoms and warning signs of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Rapid pulse
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain that worsens when taking a deep breath or coughing
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
How are they treated?
Quick, effective outpatient visits treat the root cause, not just the symptoms.
DiagnosisDetection of DVT is most commonly done by having a color duplex ultrasound. It is important that this be done by a qualified sonographer or technologist. Different organizations have different quality standards when it comes to venous imaging, but the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) has the highest standard for vascular testing. The Vein Center of Arizona performs testing according to the standards set forth by the IAC and only employs highly experienced Registered Vascular Technologists.
TreatmentTreatment options include compression stocking therapy, prescription of blood thinners or clot busters, and possibly the insertion of a filter into a large vein in your abdomen.
The Vein Center of Arizona offers patients a wide variety of treatment options:
Comprehensive Treatment Plan
Developing a comprehensive treatment plan follows a thorough assessment. The assessment will normally consist of a review of your venous symptoms, a visual inspection of your problems and a thorough review of your history. The assessment completed by Dr. Paul Larson, supplemented by the diagnostic ultrasound if indicated by a registered vascular technologist will aid in the process.
Before seeking out a surgical or non-surgical treatment for varicose veins and other uncomfortable vein disorders, doctors may recommend conservative management techniques for patients. Conservative treatments may be required by an insurance company before other treatments can be considered.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area.
Endovenous Laser Treatment
Endovenous Laser Treatment for the elimination of unhealthy varicose veins is the gold-standard for minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins. EVLT uses laser energy, which is a highly concentrated beam of light. They work by delivering this light energy to the tissue that is targeted with extreme precision, so as not to damage the surrounding tissue.
Sclerotherapy is the primary treatment for spider veins and small superficial varicose veins that usually appear on the legs. They less commonly appear on other parts of the body. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical solution into a targeted spider vein or a reticular vein through a very fine needle.
Foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive technique for men and women to eliminate unsightly varicose veins and spider veins. The procedure involves injecting a foam sclerosant in a blood vessel to close it. The blood reroutes itself through healthy veins, restoring more normal blood flow.
Also known as ambulatory phlebectomy, this is a procedure that can be performed in the office and is commonly performed at the time of endovenous ablation. The procedure is intended to remove larger bulging varicose veins near the skin surface.