Deep Vein Thrombosis (cont.)

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What are the complications of deep vein thrombosis?

Pulmonary embolism is the major complication of deep vein thrombosis. It can present with chest pain and shortness of breath and is a life-threatening condition. Most often pulmonary emboli arise from the legs.

Post-phlebitic syndrome can occur after a deep vein thrombosis. The affected leg can become chronically swollen and painful with skin color changes and ulcer formation around the foot and ankle.

Can deep vein thrombosis be prevented?

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As is the case with most medical illnesses, prevention is of prime importance. Minimizing risk factors is key to deep vein thrombosis prevention.

In the hospital setting, the staff works hard to minimize the potential for clot formation in immobilized patients. Compression stockings are routinely used. Surgery patients are out of bed walking (ambulatory) earlier and low dose heparin or enoxaparin is being used for deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis (measures taken to prevent DVT).

For those who travel, it is recommended that they get up and walk every couple of hours during a long trip.

Compression stockings may be helpful in preventing future deep vein thrombosis formation in patients with a previous history of a clot.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery


Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed.
United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/26/2015

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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?