Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) sometimes occurs for no apparent reason.
However, the risk of developing DVT is increased in certain circumstances.
When you're inactive your blood tends to collect in the lower parts of your body, often in your lower legs. This is usually nothing to worry about because when you start to move, your blood flow increases and moves evenly around your body.
However, if you're unable to move for a long period of time such as after an operation, because ofan illness or injury, or during a long journeyyour blood flow can slow down considerably. A slow blood flow increases the chances of a Arterial thrombosis forming.
If you have to go into hospital for an operation or procedure, your risk of getting a blood clot increases. This isbecause DVT is more likely to occur when you're unwell or inactive, or less active than usual.
As a patient, your risk of developing DVT depends onthe type of treatment you're having. You may be at increased risk of DVT if any of the following apply:
You may also be at increased risk of DVT if you're much less active than usual because of an operation or serious injury and have other DVT risk factors, such as a family history of the condition.
When you're admitted to hospital you'll be assessed for your risk of developing a blood clot and, if necessary, given preventative treatment.
If the wall of a blood vessel is damaged, it may become narrowed or blocked, which can cause a blood clot to form.
Blood vessels can be damaged by injuries such as broken bones or severe muscle damage. Sometimes, blood vessel damage that occurs during surgery can cause a blood clot, particularly in operations on the lower half of your body.
Conditions such as vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), varicose veins and some forms of medication, such as chemotherapy ,can also damage blood vessels.
Your risk of getting DVT is increased if you have a condition that causes your blood to clot more easily than normal. These conditions include:
During pregnancy, blood clots more easily. It's the body's way of preventing too much blood being lost during childbirth.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) DVT and pulmonary embolism affects about one in 100,000 women of childbearing age.
DVTs are also rare in pregnancy, althoughpregnant women are up to 10 times more likely to develop thrombosis than non-pregnant women of the same age. A clot can form at any stage of pregnancy and up to six weeks after the birth.
Having thrombophilia (a condition where the blood has an increased tendency to clot), or having a parent, or brother or sister, who's had a thrombosis, increase your risk of developing a DVT during pregnancy.
Other risk factors during pregnancy include:
Low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) is usually used to treat pregnant women with DVT. LMWH is an anticoagulant , which means it prevents the blood clot getting bigger. It's given by injection and doesn't affect your developing baby.
Oestrogen causes the blood to clot a bit more easily than normal,so your risk of getting DVT is slightly increased. There's no increased risk from the progestogen-only contraceptive pill.
Your risk of getting DVT is alsoincreased if you or a close relative have previously had DVT and:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that develops within a deep vein in the body, usually in the leg. DVT usually occurs in a deep leg vein, a larger vein that runs through the muscles of the calf and the thigh.
Read about how and when deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur. In certain circumstances, such as being inactive for long periods, your risk of getting DVT increases.
Read about how deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is treated. Two of the main treatments are anticoagulant medicines and wearing compression stockings.
Read about the two main complications of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) pulmonary embolism and post-thrombotic syndrome.
Find out how to prevent getting deep vein thrombosis (DVT) before going into hospital, while in hospital and after being discharged, plus long-distance travel advice.
Journalist Mark Pownall from north London developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on a long-haul flight from New Orleans to London.
Helen Cannings, 34, developed venous thromboembolism (VTE) at around 30 weeks of pregnancy. Her father also died of pulmonary embolism at the age of just 49.
Battling through three differentcancers meant that getting blood clots was the last thing on Jeremy Smith's mind.