Edema and Related Medical Conditions

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Deep Venous Thrombosis

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) & Blood Clots

Related Terms:

Blood clots, DVT, Venous Stasis, leg swelling, deep vein thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, deep vein blood clots, venous thrombosis, leg edema, Homans sign, lymphedema fibrosis, sepsis, nephrotic syndrome, congestive heart failure, stroke, acute myocardial infarction, heart attack


Medical condition that affects mainly the lower legs and thigh and involves the formation of a blood blot. The clot cuts off blood circulation and can lead to several serious complications. The signs and symptoms of the condition will vary depending on the intensity or size of the clot.

Risk factors:

There are a number of general risk factors associated with DVT. These include age, immobilization for longer than three days, pregnancy and the post-partum period, extensive surgical procedure within the previous month, obesity.

In addition to the general risk factors, there are important medical based risk factors as well. These include cancer, sepsis, nephrotic syndrome, congestive heart failure (CHF), fibrosis in lymphedema limbs, stroke, acute myocardial infarction (AMI - heart attack).

Other causes include trauma injury, inherited hematologic disordes, and drugs and medications such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy.


Edema of the affected limb, pulmonary embolism, post-phlebitic syndrome, hemorhagic complications from anticoagulants and blood thinners, chronic venous insufficiency, soft-tissue ischemia, risk of cellulitis from the edema, skin changes including pigmentation and itching.


Homans sign (Slight pain at the back of the knee or calf when the ankle is slowly and gently dorsiflexed (with the knee bent), indicative of incipient or established thrombosis in the veins of the leg.)

Unexplained sharp leg pain in only one leg, sudden edema in only one leg, leg tenderness, increased warmth in the affected leg, changes in the coloration (red) of the affected leg, venous distension (often visible or noticeable by touch).


Diagnostic radiological tests are standard protocol for the diagnosis and assessment of deep venous thrombosis.
These tests include contrast venography, duplex ultrasonography, impedance plethysomography and MRI.


The main treatment for deep venous thrombosis has been the use of the blood thinner Heparin. This is started immediately, often through inter-venous application. Within a few days another anticoagulant drug called warfarin is administered. Heparin and warfarin are used together for several days, then warfarin is continued, often for months.

After the resolution of the clot, standard patient treatment protocol will focus on the initial cause of the thrombosis.

Treatment of the thrombosis and associated cause will general resolve leg edema, however a patient may need to wear a compression support hose and undergo therapy for the edema as well.

Possible side effects of treatment may include bleeding and lower platelet counts (thrombocytopenia) from heparin and bleeding from the warfarin as well. Your physician will monitor your situation for these complications and you should tell them immediately should your experience it.


The patient recovery expectation is excellent as most thrombosis disappear without difficulty. However, they may reoccur therefore it is critical that the patient has long term follow up. It may also be necessary to continue preventative drug therapy for an extended period of time.

(c) Pat O'Connor - Lymphedema People

See Also:

Edema and Deep Venous Thrombosis

For Further Information:

Deep Venous Thrombosis

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Deep Venous Thrombosis

Diagnostic Image Vein

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Deep Venous Thrombosis

Diagnostic Image Leg

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Deep Venous Thrombosis


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