Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is when a blood clot forms in a vein that is not on the surface of the body.
It mainly affects the large veins in the lower leg and thigh. The clot can block blood flow. If the clot breaks off and moves through the bloodstream, it can get stuck in the brain, lungs, heart, or other area of the body, leading to severe damage.
Wear the pressure stockings prescribed by your doctor. They will improve blood flow in your legs and lower your risk for problems with blood clots and long-term complications.
Your doctor may give you medicine to thin your blood. This will help keep more clots from forming.
Ask your doctor what exercises and other activities are safe for you to do.
Do not sit or lie down in the same position for long periods of time.
If swelling is a problem, keep your legs resting above your heart. When sleeping, make the foot of the bed a few inches higher than the head of the bed.
Do not wear tight clothing on your legs or around your waist. If your clothes leave a mark in your skin, they are too tight.
Do not smoke. If you do, ask your doctor for help quitting.
Drink at least 6 - 8 cups of liquid a day, if your doctor says it is okay.
Try to use less salt.
Call your doctor if:
DVT - discharge; Blood clot in the legs - discharge; Thromboembolism - discharge
Ginsberg J. Peripheral venous disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 81.
Guyatt GH, Akl EA, Crowther M, et al. Executive Summary: Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis. 9th ed. American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2012;141(2 suppl):7s-47s.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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