What is Venous thrombosis?
Venous thrombosis occurs when a clot forms within a vein, most commonly it affects the veins in the leg. If the clot is a vein close to the surface of the skin it is called a superficial venous thrombosis (SVT), if it occurs in the deep veins that accompany the arteries it is called a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). A DVT that develops after a long airplane flight is called economy class syndrome.
In deep venous thrombosis there is a risk that the clot can dislodge and travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolus. This is a very serious condition that can be life threatening in extreme cases.
The clot may cause long-term damage to the veins in the leg leading to post-thrombotic syndrome. This can be a severe condition characterizes by pain, swelling, skin damage and eventually lead to the formation of venous ulcers.
What are the symptoms of venous thrombosis?
- Tenderness to touch
What causes venous thrombosis?
The 3 mains factors leading to venous thrombosis are:
- Stasis of blood flow – usually due to prolonged immobility
- Damage to the lining of the vein – trauma or surgery
- Increased clotting tendency in the blood – may be inherited or develop due to another underlying illness
What are the risk factors for venous thrombosis?
- History of clotting
- Oral contraceptive pill, Hormone replacement therapy
- Varicose veins
- Family history
How will my venous thrombosis be assessed?
- History and examination
- Duplex ultrasound
- CT or MR Venogram
- CT Pulmonary arteries
- VQ lung scan
What treatments are available for my varicose veins?
- Blood thinners (anticoagulation)
- Graduated compression stockings
- Thrombolysis – dissolves the clot
- Pharmcomechanical thrombectomty – dissolves and removes the clot
- Filters – prevent the clot from travelling to the lung