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Deep Vein Thrombosis

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Deep Vein Thrombosis

If it weren’t for the clotting properties of blood, even a small cut would eventually make you bleed to death. However, blood can sometimes form clots in the larger, deep veins of your body. This is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These clots can cause significant pain and swelling, and if they dislodge, they can even be fatal. 

Here’s what you need to know about deep vein thrombosis diagnosis and treatment.

What’s Deep Vein Thrombosis?

What’s Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Ordinarily, blood clots are not supposed to happen within the blood vessels. In some situations, a blood clot (called a “thrombus”) begins to form in the large, deep veins in the body, interfering with blood flow. These clots most commonly form in the legs.

Clots can also form in smaller veins, but clotting in the larger vessels causes more serious complications. Think of it like a traffic jam — a closure on a small back road might make a handful of people late for work. But if an entire highway is blocked, hundreds of people won’t be able to get where they need to go.

It’s possible to experience DVT without noticing any significant symptoms. 

But in many cases, you’ll start to notice symptoms such as:

  • Cramping, soreness, or pain (usually in the calf)
  • Leg swelling and warmth
  • Skin color changing to red or purple

If you notice these symptoms, get in touch with your doctor. Your doctor can likely treat it before symptoms worsen.

When Does DVT Get Dangerous?

When most people talk about deep vein thrombosis being dangerous, they’re thinking about the main complication — pulmonary embolism (PE). In a pulmonary embolism, the initial blood clot (or part of the blood clot) gets dislodged and travels through your bloodstream. It then gets stuck again — this time in one of the arteries in your lungs.

If the blood flow in your lungs is interrupted, the oxygen you breathe can’t be transported through your body. Lack of oxygen causes tissue damage, and if it’s severe enough, that damage can be fatal.

If you develop a pulmonary embolism, you may notice several symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort in your chest, especially when coughing or taking a deep breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Collapsing or fainting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Shortness of breath, especially shortness of breath that comes on suddenly

If you notice the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, make sure you seek medical attention immediately. A pulmonary embolism is a potentially deadly emergency, especially if a doctor fails to diagnose it. However, if it’s treated promptly, you have a much lesser risk of death or other serious complications.

What Are Some Other Potential Complications of DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis won’t automatically cause a pulmonary embolism. Large blood clots (and especially large blood clots that remain for long periods of time) can cause something called postphlebitic syndrome. This is when the clot results in lasting damage to the vein, and that damage causes problems with blood flow.

Many of the symptoms of postphlebitic syndrome are similar to those of DVT. They include changes in skin color, pain and swelling in the leg (or the area where the clot occurred), and even sores on the skin.

Sometimes, the treatment for DVT causes complications. In many cases, treatment with blood thinners is enough to break up large blood clots. But as you might imagine, blood thinners increase the risk of bleeding, and hemorrhaging becomes more likely.

What Are the Causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

It’s entirely possible for DVT to happen for no obvious reason. However, there are several situations that increase your chances of developing a clot.

Injury or Surgery

Clotting is a natural part of healing from a surgery or an injury that impacts the blood vessels. However, that extra clotting makes it more likely that you’ll experience DVT.


Dehydration is never a good thing, but not everyone realizes that it can contribute to DVT and other harmful blood clots. When you’re dehydrated, your blood vessels will often become narrower. Your blood will also seem thicker and may start to move more slowly.

Taking Oral Contraceptives or Hormone Replacement Therapy

Estrogen can increase coagulation (clotting). Estrogen-containing contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy involving estrogen may increase your DVT risk.

Being Bedridden

Regular movement supports better blood flow. If you’re confined to bed after an injury (or even if you’re especially sedentary), the reduced blood flow can sometimes cause a clot to form.

Taking Long Trips

If you spend more than three hours in a car, on a plane, or on a train, you are at an increased risk of developing a blood clot. The lack of movement combined with staying in a cramped space for an extended period of time makes DVT more likely.


Because pregnancy puts extra pressure on the blood vessels in your legs, it puts you at greater risk for blood clots. That risk can continue for up to six weeks after delivery.


Smoking can also increase your risk of DVT and blood clots in general. That’s because tobacco smoke interacts with proteins in your blood and makes them sticky. The stickiness makes clotting easier.

Genetics and Family History

If a close relative has a history of DVT or pulmonary embolisms, there’s a greater likelihood that you might suffer from DVT as well. Sometimes, that’s because of an inherited genetic factor. For example, there’s a genetic disorder called factor V Leiden that increases your risk of developing serious blood clots. 

It’s important to note that inherited disorders don’t make developing DVT or a pulmonary embolism inevitable. An estimated nine out of 10 people with factor V Leiden never develop a clot.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered Serious Consequences of DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis can be extremely serious. But in most cases, prompt medical treatment can help you return to health with no lasting effects. 

Unfortunately, when a medical practitioner is negligent or incompetent, DVT could go too long without intervention. When this happens, you or a loved one may suffer permanent damage or even death. 

At Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers, we believe that negligent medical providers should be held accountable. Securing a settlement for you may not erase your injuries or bring back a loved one, but it can make it easier for you to focus on healing. It also might stop that medical professional from doing the same thing to someone else.

If you or a family member have been seriously harmed, reach out to our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today at (904) 396-1100 to set up a free case review.

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