Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms within the deep veins that carry blood to your heart. A clot can form after a period of inactivity -- like after surgery, injury, or travel -- or may be due to an underlying medical condition. The clot blocks blood flow in your vein, which can lead to swelling, pain, and skin redness and can make your skin warm to the touch. Some people with DVT have no symptoms. DVT is most common in the legs, but it can also occur in other areas of the body.
DVT and the Risk of Pulmonary Embolism
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a part of the blood clot breaks off and travels to your lungs. This can be fatal. When deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism occur together, it's called venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Acute and Chronic DVT
Acute DVT is a new blood clot that has existed for two to four weeks or less. Because a new clot is softer and only loosely attached to a vein wall, you may need to undergo a minimally invasive procedure to remove the clot. However, most people with acute DVT are treated with medications.
Chronic DVT refers to a blood clot that is more than about a month old or was previously diagnosed. Over time, blood clots harden and attach to vein walls, making them more difficult to treat. Chronic DVT can damage valves inside the affected vein. Treatment for chronic DVT aims to limit damage to the skin related to the blocked vein(s).
May-Thurner syndrome is a rare condition in which a vein in the pelvis gets pinched between an artery and the spine. This can block the flow of blood from the leg, causing swelling. It also increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis. Our vein specialists are experienced in identifying and treating May-Thurner syndrome.