OrthoNeuro Blog

16 Aug

What is a DVT?  Concerns for Orthopedic Injuries...

by Courtney Gittins

DVTDVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) is a serious medical condition that occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a deep vein in the body. This most commonly occurs in the calf, pelvis, or thigh.

Risk Factors:

  • Increasing age
  • Personal or family history
  • Malignant cancers
  • Vein Diseases (Varicose Veins)
  • Smoking
  • Birth Control / Hormone Therapy
  • Obesity
  • Inheriting a blood-clotting disorder

Blood clots can occur if a vein becomes damaged or if the blood flow in the vein slows down or completely stops. The two most common risks for developing a clot are experiencing an injury to your lower extremity or having major surgery on your hip, knee, or lower leg.  Surgery can alter normal blood flow and create clotting. Immobilization of the lower extremity may also contribute to the potential for DVTs with orthopedic injuries. Talk to your orthopedic specialist if you have one or more risk factors.

However, they are many times preventable. Blood clots form when blood stays in the same place for too long. When you move your muscles, your blood moves too much for it to clot.

Symptoms:
NOTE: May have no noticeable symptoms & can be hard to detect

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmth
  • Tenderness
  • Redness of leg
Post Surgery Risks:
  • Having a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 40
  • Previous history of blood clots
  • Being an active tobacco smoker
Treatment:
  • Blood Thinners (anticoagulants) : Keeps clot from breaking off or growing and also prevents new clots from forming. Heparin and Warfarin are the most common blood thinners that are prescribed.  Newer medicines such as Eliquis are now being used to treat acute DVT as well.

If you suspect you have a DVT, seek medical attention immediately!  DVTs left untreated may lead to serious complications such as a pulmonary embolism (PE).  A PE is a blood clot that breaks free and travels through the veins to the lungs where it blocks one of the blood vessels to the heart or lungs. This can happen right after the formation of the blood clot or it may happen days later and can be FATAL.

Click the button below to view an annimation of how a deep vein thrombosis.

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