While some vein problems do not pose serious health risks, others can be life threatening if left untreated. Deep vein thrombosis, DVT, is one of the most serious types of vein disease. DVT affects over 300,000 Americans each year, and is a cause for major medical concern.
DVT occurs when a blood clot develops inside a deep vein, usually in the legs. A DVT can cause intense acute onset of leg pain and swelling as the flow of blood draining the lower leg will be impaired and the leg becomes engorged with blood. Pieces of the clot, or even the whole clot may break free and travel through the circulatory system to the lungs. This presents a potentially life-threatening situation called Pulmonary Embolus (PE). DVT/PE can be caused by injury to a vein from an accident or surgery, as well as by a genetic tendency for clot formation, certain medications, dehydration, or prolonged periods of sitting or bed rest.
DVTs can be difficult to detect, as about half of patients experience no symptoms at all. Fortunately, our top cardiovascular physicians are highly trained in DVT detection and treatment. Ultrasound scans are used at South Palm Cardiovascular Associates to detect deep vein thrombosis, and prompt treatment will ensue to prevent development of pulmonary embolus as well as preventing long term damage to the leg itself.
When a clot is found, the cornerstone of treatment may usually include a hospital stay to initiate treatment with aggressive blood thinners called anticoagulatns. In some cases more aggressive treatment invasive procedures may be recommended to decompress the leg, or to treat clot that may have already traveled to the lungs. Your vein specialist at SPCVA will carefully assess your condition and discuss appropriate treatment or follow-up testing as needed.