Venous Thrombosis

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?

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Tenderness to touch

What causes venous thrombosis?

The 3 mains factors leading to venous thrombosis are:

  1. Stasis of blood flow – usually due to prolonged immobility
  2. Damage to the lining of the vein – trauma or surgery
  3. Increased clotting tendency in the blood – may be inherited or develop due to another underlying illness

What are the risk factors for venous thrombosis?

  • Age
  • immobilisation
  • travel
  • History of clotting
  • Cancer
  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral contraceptive pill, Hormone replacement therapy
  • Varicose veins
  • Family history
  • Obesity

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