A blood clot which forms in a leg vein usually attaches to the vein wall. This can easily be treated, however, there are 2 main risks ::
1. The clot or a part of it becomes free and travels to the lung (pulmonary embolus).
2. The clot is cleared but damage to the vein has occurred (post-
A DVT quickly becomes life-
This occurs when the blood clot moves, either in whole or when a small part breaks off, then travels along the normal blood stream route, passing through the lungs and heart. The freely travelling blood clot, from a leg clot for example, now known as an EMBOLUS, will pass through the heart usually without problem, but will become stuck in the minute blood vessels of the lung which is then called a PE.
The level of Pulmonary Embolism will dictate the level of problems caused.
• A tiny Embolus may result in breathing difficulties.
• A medium Embolus may result in severe chest pains and breathing difficulties.
• A large Embolus may result in sudden death.
These are the standard levels often found when explaining PE.
Swelling and inflamation
BELOW the block point
Blood flow to the heart and lungs
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However, it must be remembered that the meaning of ' tiny, medium, large ' is completely relative to the person. What may be considered tiny to one person may not be to another. Once a someone is diagnosed with DVT or PE, there is no time to waste and treatment MUST be undertaken immediately.
Together, a DVT and PE are known as VTE -
DVT and (PE) Pulmonary Embolism together are known as Venous Thrombo Embolism (VTE).
A Thrombus is a blood clot.
A Thrombosis is a blood vessel blockage by a blood clot.
A Thrombus is called an Embolus when it travels through the blood stream and becomes stuck in a narrow blood vessel.
Venous means related to veins.
Without treatment, up to 40% of people with a DVT will develop long-
Symptoms occur because the blood flow no longer travels as it did prior to the DVT, whilst the pressure and levels of blood flow remain the same. The blood flow and its pressure are diverted to other veins in the region.
Before the DVT, these small veins received their required levels of blood and blood pressure, but now they are forced to accept more, which is not what they were made to cope with.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and include calf pain, discomfort, swelling, colour changes in the limb, rashes, blisters and ulcers.
These problems can become severe and turn into numerous other ailments. As stockings are commonly prescribed for post DVT patients, any skin problems will prevent the person from wearing them, especially if suffering from acute sensitivity of the skin.
A DVT is clearly visible on this scan.
Blood Clotting & Pregnancy. If you are pregnant, or you have just had a baby, you are at greater risk of developing a blood clot. Blood clots in pregnant women tend to form in the deep veins of the legs or in the pelvic area. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
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Chemotherapy can increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis / DVT and subsequently a Pulmonary Embolism /PE.
It’s believed that it is because the treatment causes a degree of damage to the blood vessels OR because the production of proteins which protect the body from blood clots, is reduced by the chemotherapy.
Those that have cancer of the pancreas, stomach, lung, bowel or ovary, may also be at a higher risk of developing a blood clot.
Women with breast cancer or who are treated with Tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer, also have an increased risk.
It is suggested that blood clots be discussed with the medics or nurses looking after anyone with cancer, if only to ensure that risks are reduced rather than added to.
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Blood clots can also develop in a vein, not only the deep vein, these are then called Venous Thrombosis.
Having a DVT is individual to each person. Most people with a DVT will experience some or even all of the following signs;
SKIN BLISTERING AND SCALING
This diagram shows a typical Thrombos or Blood Clot blocking the vein and preventing blood from flowing. Similarly, the clot may be stuck to one side of the vein causing partial blockage.
A Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the body.
Most commonly a DVT occurs in the deep vein of the leg which runs through the muscles of the thigh and calf. They can however occur at any point in the body.
It is usual for a leg DVT to be classified simply as above or below the knee.
Deep leg veins are the large veins which travel through the muscles of the thigh and calf. These are not to be confused with veins that are visible just under the skin.
When you suffer a DVT, the blood flow becomes either partially or totally blocked by the blood clot, in turn creating additional problems.