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

Blood is meant to flow. If it becomes stagnant, there is a potential for it to clot. The blood in veins constantly forms microscopic clots that are routinely broken down by the body. If the balance of clot formation and clot breakdown is altered, significant clotting may occur. A thrombus can form if one or a combination of the following situations is present.


  • Prolonged travel and sitting, such as long airplane flights ("economy class syndrome"), car, or train travel
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Trauma to the lower leg with or without surgery or casting
  • Pregnancy, including 6-8 weeks post-partum after delivery of the baby
  • Obesity
Return to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, Blood Clot in the Legs)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Bloodclotsurvivor, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

I travelled overseas on a 10 hour flight and ten days later I had knee arthroscopic day surgery. I went home the same day on crutches, 2 weeks later I went to the orthopedic surgeon still on crutches with swelling, pain, tingling and redness of the calf. I was unable to walk on the leg. I was sent immediately for an ultrasound which showed nothing. I was then instructed that I just had to keep moving the leg as nothing was wrong. I knew something was wrong and did not listen to the doctor and did not exercise it. I also took aspirin as a precaution. Four days later I could not breathe. I ended up at hospital and had another ultrasound showing 3 clots in my calf, one being 20cm long. I then had the blue dye put through my body which found two clots in my lungs as well. I was in hospital for 12 days and also ended up with an infection and another clot in my arm from the cannula. I was referred to a hematologist and was tested but nothing was found as the cause. Firstly I was on warfarin and then was changed to Xarelto. It is now 5 months on and I now have another blood clot in the other leg whilst still taking Xarelto. I had the same symptoms, calf pain, redness and numbness in my feet. Again the ultrasound showed nothing and the doctor treated me like I was just a whinger, and a week later I went back to the doctor and it showed another clot. It also shows that blood thinners do not always stop you from getting more clots. Always remember to get another opinion if the ultrasound does not show anything as twice now they missed it on me. Had I not gone back I would not be alive today. You know your own body and if in doubt do not risk it, see a doctor.

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Comment from: ksimon46, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

After years of being sedentary, overweight and diabetic I lost 50 lbs and started swimming laps and doing water aerobics three times a week. Six months later I developed a massive deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

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Comment from: p41oh, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 22

I had a torn meniscus and was waiting for surgery. In the meantime, I was supposed to go overseas, but all of the running around I did when I was packing made my knee swell up and hurt. I went to the emergency room (ER) and they immediately looked for an embolism. They didn't find one, but I decided to scrub the trip because of the pain. Good thing, because my knee kept locking up and my orthopedist said it could have locked up on the trip and stayed that way and I would have had to be Medivac'd to Germany for surgery.

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