When a blood clot forms within a deep vein, this is called deep vein thrombosis or DVT. This commonly occurs in the legs and is unfortunately a semi-regular occurrence for those that are prone to this condition. The successful management of deep vein thrombosis is imperative to living a meaningful life that is not constantly plagued with the risk of recurrence. The formation of deep vein thrombosis typically occurs in the calf veins where the blood is typically oxygen deprived. There are a number of medical conditions which increase the risk of DVT including cancer, physical trauma, and antiphospholipid syndrome. Depending upon the patient, management of deep vein thrombosis may involve several prescribed options handling these conditions as well. The management of deep vein thrombosis is also dependent upon being aware of these risk factors and others. For example, age, surgery, immobilization, oral contraceptives, and pregnancy all increase the risk of DVT. Additionally deficiencies in antithrombin, protein C, and protein S, or having a non-O blood type also increases the risk. Roughly 0.1% of the population develops DVT every year and management of deep vein thrombosis is highly important to ensuring that the condition does not return with fatal complications.
The diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis requires the use of imaging technology such as an ultrasound. There are various clinical assessments that are regularly completed to assess the possibility of DVT and assist in determining if imaging is required. Management of deep vein thrombosis hinges on a successful diagnosis, difficult however as slightly less than half of those affected experience no symptoms. Those who do experience symptoms, diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis still require the use of imaging tech to confirm. The majority of the people who are submitted to clinical assessments with the expectation of a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis, oftentimes, DVT are ruled out after this evaluation. The effects of deep vein thrombosis are quite similar to other conditions such as cellulitis, Baker’s cyst, a musculoskeletal injury, and lymphedema. Typically with imaging tech such as an x-ray, diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis can be easily confirmed by showing a slowed blood flow in the vein. It is likely that an MRI or CT scan will be recommended for this diagnosis.
The effects of deep vein thrombosis are potentially serious. The risk of pulmonary embolism is high and is the most serious consequence of DVT. Other effects of deep vein thrombosis however may include an inflammatory condition known as phlebitis or leg ulcers. The efficient management of deep vein thrombosis is integral to ensuring that these effects do not develop. Methods of short-term management of deep vein thrombosis include anticoagulation drugs and thrombolytic drugs that are meant to dissolve the blood clot and restore blood flow. Much of these effects are dependent upon where in the body DVT is located. The lower extremities are where DVT is likely to occur with some cases reaching far into places such as the iliac vein of the pelvis though occasionally one might experience DVT in the arms as well. Where DVT is located in the body also plays a role in the prevention and management of deep vein thrombosis. People who are post-surgery, pregnant, or traveling via a method where movement is restricted such as by plane or train, management of deep vein thrombosis needs to be a priority as the potential of reoccurrence is high.
Medications for deep vein thrombosis are highly common short-term and are regularly used in the long-term as well depending upon the situation of the patient. Medications for deep vein thrombosis are commonly required to dissolve the clot, after which more long-term treatment is recommended which is likely to include an anti-coagulant or blood thinning medicine. Preventing deep vein thrombosis is most effective when an anti-coagulant medication such as warfarin is combined with a program meant to reduce additional risk factors
There are a variety of signs of DVT to watch out for including swelling in the legs, redness, warmness, and larger than normal superficial veins. Complications of deep vein thrombosis vary however can be fatal should the clot become loosened, traveling up to the lungs, a process otherwise known as pulmonary embolism. When DVT is combined with pulmonary embolism, this forms a disease known as venous thromboembolism. There are a variety of other complications of deep vein thrombosis including post-thrombotic syndrome, which are common among patients. Learning about the effects of deep vein thrombosis, this is what makes prevention such an integral part of living with the increased risk of developing DVT.
There are numerous ways of preventing deep vein thrombosis including a prescribed exercise program that is meant to stimulate the calves. These exercises are commonly built around early and frequent walking, and similar movements that are meant to keep blood flowing. Preventing deep vein thrombosis is also likely to include medications including aspirin or anticoagulants. These are meant to further lower the risk factors of reoccurrence. The third category of methods of preventing deep vein thrombosis includes additions such as compression stockings and/or intermittent pneumatic compression among other potential options that may or may not be recommended by a doctor, depending upon a patient’s individual situation.
In the management of deep vein thrombosis, there are a number of goals that one hopes to accomplish. These include to prevent clots from growing, to keep the clots that do grow from breaking off and traveling elsewhere, to eliminate the possibility of long-term complications, and to ultimately prevent the condition entirely. The most effective management of deep vein thrombosis is to ensure that one is taking their medication regularly and that they are taking care of themselves, with a proper diet and exercise program as prescribed by a physician. With regards to medications, anticoagulants are used to help thin the blood and though they come with their own potential side effects, are the most common management of deep vein thrombosis. It is not uncommon to be recommended Apixaban (Eliquis), Dabigatran (Pradaxa), Edoxaban (Savaysa), Fondaparinux (Arixtra), heparin, Rivaroxaban (Xarelto), and/or warfarin (Coumadin). Medications such as heparin by are required to be administered by needle first in the hospital and then at home, once or twice every day. Medications such as warfarin are a once-a-day pill taken over a three to six month period. Anti-clotting medications or inhibitors are used as well. Ultimately in management of deep vein thrombosis, it is important to have regular blood tests done to ensure that these medications are working as they should.
Beyond the medications that a doctor will prescribe to you, everyday living and lifestyle changes may prove to be the most effective management of deep vein thrombosis long-term. The importance of exercise has already been discussed but diet is also highly important. A low-fat, high fiber diet with a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables can make the world of difference. Though again, management of deep vein thrombosis should always be accompanied with regular blood tests to monitor the condition. None of this should stop anyone from living a fulfilling life as long as the possible return of DVT is being monitoring by a health care professional. The management of deep vein thrombosis could prove to have a psychological impact on a human being. It is not unheard of to have anxiety or to experience a depression following the occurrence of DVT. There are various resources online that detail the personal experiences of those who have suffered from DVT and blood clots. It might not hurt to read some, to seek out support if needed, and to be honest with them if they are experiencing an altered psychology. The management of deep vein thrombosis is not meant to penalize a person or to create anxiety. The likelihood of DVT returning does exist but through effective management of deep vein thrombosis, this likelihood is significantly reduced. With the complications of DVT proving to be potentially fatal, it is imperative that one follows a long-term treatment plan that includes regular monitor.