Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Written by Dr Claudia Pastides, 3rd April 2019

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg, usually in the calf or thigh.


Causes

DVTs can happen for no apparent reason, but certain risk factors increase the chances of a clot forming in the leg.


Risk factors

  • Age over 75 years old
  • Immobility
  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Major surgery such as orthopedic surgery
  • Some medications such as oral contraceptives or oestrogen containing medicines
  • Having a history of stroke
  • Having a history of DVT
  • History of (or ongoing) cancer diagnosis


Typical Symptoms

  • Swelling of the affected limb
  • Pain and/or tenderness of the affected limb
  • Bulging veins in the affected limb
  • Skin colour change in the affected limb


Common Treatment

  • Blood thinning or clot dissolving medication
  • Specialist treatment or surgery


When to speak to a doctor

It is important to speak to a doctor urgently if you believe you might have a DVT. To speak to one of our Babylon GPs, download the app and create an account today.

You should call 999 if you have:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Pale blue skin


Prevention

Deep vein thrombosis can be managed and prevented by:

  • Blood thinning medications
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Avoiding long periods of time without moving
  • Keeping active with a regular exercise routine
  • Getting up and walking after prolonged periods of sitting, such as on a flight

More information

NHS - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/deep-vein-thrombosis-dvt/