Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but may occur without any symptoms. It is a very serious condition that can cause permanent damage to the leg, known as post-thrombotic syndrome, or a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.  In the United States alone, 600,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

The deep veins that lie near the center of the leg are surrounded by powerful muscles that contract and force deoxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart. Valves are one-way and prevent the back-flow of blood between the contractions. (Blood is squeezed up the leg against gravity and the valves prevent it from flowing back to our feet.) When the circulation of the blood slows down due to illness, injury or inactivity, blood can accumulate or “pool” which provides an ideal setting for clot formation.

CAUSES

  • Previous DVT or family history of DVT
  • Immobility, such as bed rest or sitting for long periods of time
  • Recent surgery
  • Being over the age of 40
  • A previous or current cancer diagnosis
  • Hormone therapy or oral contraceptives
  • Pregnancy or post-partum
  • Previous or current cancer diagnosis
  • Limb trauma and/or orthopedic procedures
  • Coagulation abnormalities
  • Obesity

SYMPTOMS

  • Discoloration of the legs
  • Tenderness or Pain in the calf or leg
  • Swelling of the leg or lower limb
  • Warm skin
  • Surface veins become more visible
  • Leg fatigue

TREATMENTS

Left untreated, a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can break off and circulate in the blood stream, getting trapped in the lung where it blocks oxygen supply eventually causing heart failure. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. With early treatment, people with DVT can reduce their chances of developing a life threatening pulmonary embolism to less than one percent.

It is important to choose a doctor with the right medical background and access to the latest technology to properly evaluate your condition.  Treatment includes:

Treatments can be combined with Pro-Nox Nitrous Oxide System for pain and anxiety relief. Athens Vein and Thoracic Specialists is one of the few practices in the area offering this combination of oxygen and nitrous oxide which is effective enough to ease pain and anxiety without medication.