May 25, 2016
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Deep Vein Thrombosis (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

Superficial thrombophlebitis symptoms

Blood clots in the superficial vein system most often occur due to trauma to the vein which causes a small blood clot to form. Inflammation of the vein and surrounding skin causes the symptoms of any other type of inflammation including:

  • redness,
  • warmth,
  • tenderness, and
  • swelling.

Often the affected vein can be palpated (felt) as a firm, thickened cord. There may be inflammation that follows the course of part of the vein.

Although there is inflammation, there is no infection.

Varicosities can predispose to superficial thrombophlebitis and varicose veins. This occurs when the valves of the larger veins in the superficial system fail (the greater and lesser saphenous veins), allowing blood to back up and cause the veins to swell and become distorted or tortuous. The valves fail when veins lose their elasticity and stretch. This can be due to age, prolonged standing, obesity, pregnancy, and genetic factors.

Deep venous thrombosis symptoms

The symptoms of deep vein thrombosis are related to obstruction of blood returning to the heart and causing a backup of blood in the leg. Classically, symptoms include:

  • pain,
  • swelling,
  • warmth, and
  • redness.

Not all of these symptoms have to occur. One, all, or none may be present with a deep vein thrombosis. The symptoms may mimic an infection or cellulitis of the leg.

Historically, health-care professionals would try to elicit a couple of clinical findings to make a diagnosis of a DVT in the leg. Dorsiflexion of the foot (pulling the toes towards the nose, or Homans' sign) and Pratt's sign (squeezing the calf to produce pain), have not been found effective in making a diagnosis. Now, health-care professionals don't usually rely upon whether these signs are present to make the diagnosis or decide that a DVT does not exist.

When should I seek medical care for deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

  • The diagnosis of a superficial or deep thrombosis often relies on the clinical skill of the health-care professional. Diagnostic tests need to be tailored to each situation.
  • Swelling, redness, and pain may be indicators of a blood clot and should not be ignored. These symptoms may be due to other causes (for example, cellulitis or infection), but it may be difficult to make the diagnosis without seeking medical advice.
  • If there is associated chest pain or shortness of breath, further concern exists that a pulmonary embolus may be the cause. Once again, seeking immediate medical advice is appropriate.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/20/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/deep_vein_thrombosis/article.htm

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