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Deep Vein Thrombosis (cont.)

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When should I seek medical care for deep vein thrombosis?

The diagnosis of a superficial or deep thrombosis often relies on the clinical skill of the health care practitioner. Diagnostic tests need to be tailored to each situation.

Leg 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, then further concern exists that a pulmonary embolus may be the cause. Once again, seeking immediate advice is appropriate.

How is deep vein thrombosis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of superficial thrombophlebitis is made clinically.

Ultrasound is now the standard method of diagnosing the presence of a deep vein thrombosis. The ultrasound technician may be able to determine whether a clot exists, where it is located in the leg, and how large it is. Ultrasounds can be compared over time to see whether a clot has grown or resolved. Ultrasound is better at "seeing" veins above the knee as compared to the veins below it.

Venography, injecting dye into the veins to look for a thrombus, is not usually performed any more and has become more of a historical footnote.

D-dimer is a blood test that may be used as a screening test to determine if a blood clot exists. D-dimer is a chemical that is produced when a blood clot in the body gradually dissolves. The test is used as a positive or negative indicator. If the result is negative, then no blood clot exists. If the D-dimer test is positive, it does not necessarily mean that a deep vein thrombosis is present since many situations will have an expected positive result (for example, from surgery, a fall, or pregnancy). For that reason, D-dimer testing must be used selectively.

Other blood testing may be considered based on the potential cause for the deep vein thrombosis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/29/2013

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Deep Vein Thrombosis - Symptoms Question: For deep vein thrombosis, what were the symptoms and signs you experienced?
Deep Vein Thrombosis - Diagnosis Question: How was your deep vein thrombosis diagnosed?
Deep Vein Thrombosis - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, including medication, did you receive for deep vein thrombosis?
Deep Vein Thrombosis - Prevention Question: In what ways do you try to prevent a recurrence of deep vein thrombosis?
Deep Vein Thrombosis - Possible Causes Question: Were you pregnant or did you sit on a plane for a long time? What was the cause of your deep vein thrombosis?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/deep_vein_thrombosis/article.htm

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