What is deep vein thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis is simply a blood clot in a vein. It typically occurs in the calf muscle region, especially after surgery and long-distance flights where an individual is seated motionless along with changes in the air pressure. Remember that this condition should be carefully assessed since some cases are wrongly diagnosed as a calf strain.

What are the indications?

An individual with deep vein thrombosis usually have the following:

  • Continuous pain usually in the calf muscle at the rear part of the leg
  • Tenderness is usually felt at a point deep in the muscle
  • Swelling at the rear part of the leg and warmth
  • Oftentimes, a reddened area is evident
  • Pain is produced if the calf muscle is stretched passively
    Deep vein thrombosis

    Continuous pain usually in the calf muscle at the rear part of the leg.

The condition is quite common especially among overweight individuals and those over 50 years old with poor circulation. Even though not likely to occur among young athletes, it can be deadly if the clot breaks free and moves into the lungs, heart or brain, potentially triggering a stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism.

Remember that if a massage therapist wrongly diagnoses deep vein thrombosis as a calf strain and performs deep tissue massage to the region, this can cause the clot to break loose and result to serious harm.

Management

Once deep vein thrombosis is suspected, medical care must be sought right away. A doctor can properly assess the condition along with testing to confirm a diagnosis.

The treatment typically involves regular injections of an anticoagulant specifically heparin for up to a week. This is followed by a second anticoagulant medication such as warfarin in oral form daily for up to 6 months. During this period, regular blood testing must be done to ensure that the individual is on the right dosage.

If too much warfarin is taken, it heightens the risk for bleeding and too little increases the risk for the clot to grow. In addition, it should not be given to pregnant women since it can cause birth defects.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on deep vein thrombosis is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage sudden medical emergencies by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.

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