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Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

“Thrombus” is the medical term for a blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where blood clots develop in the deep veins of the arms, legs, or pelvis. DVT can impact the legs because of the tendency for the veins to weaken. Normally, deoxygenated blood is forced back to the heart through powerful muscles and one-way valves in the veins that prevent backflow. For a few reasons, these valves can become weakened and allow blood to pool and clot. If blood clots grow and break loose, they can travel to the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which is life-threatening.

Not all blood clots cause serious medical problems. Blood clots may sometimes form in superficial veins where they don’t typically require immediate attention. However, clots in deep veins require immediate medical treatment from a vascular physician.

Symptoms and Risk Factors

One of the most telling symptoms of DVT is swelling in the leg. You may also experience warmth or redness, as well as pain or tenderness. Discomfort may increase when moving, standing, or touching the leg. These changes typically occur in one leg, meaning they are noticeable when measured against the other.

You may be at a higher risk of DVT if any of the following apply:

  • A family or personal history of DVT
  • Immobility and a sedentary lifestyle
  • Hormone therapy
  • Coagulation abnormalities
  • Obesity or pregnancy
  • Previous orthopedic procedures or limb trauma
  • Cancer
  • Age 40 or over
  • Recent surgery

It’s also relatively common to develop post-thrombotic syndrome, a side-effect of under-treatment of DVT (using only blood thinners). In this case, the clot may remain in the leg. This can create permanent damage to the veins, resulting in chronic pain, swelling, fatigue, and even skin ulcers. For this reason, treating DVT appropriately with an experienced vascular physician is key.

Pulmonary embolism is a significant risk of DVT – in fact, a majority of pulmonary embolisms are caused by DVT. Early treatment is essential to reducing the risk of pulmonary embolism and extending lifetime. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:

  • Sharp chest pain
  • Rapid pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Coughing up blood
  • Sweating

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

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How is Deep Vein Thrombosis Diagnosed?

DVT can be diagnosed with an ultrasound or venogram. A venogram is performed by injecting a special dye into the bloodstream and taking an X-ray. This makes the blood flow visible so that your vascular physician can assess it. Once our team has a clear picture of the veins in your legs, we can discuss your treatment options.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment Options

An endovascular thrombectomy is the recommended treatment for DVT and pulmonary embolism. When performed by an expert vascular physician, it can restore blood flow to the veins, break up the blood clot, and reduce the risk of complications from DVT.

It involves inserting a catheter into the vein and injecting a medication that breaks up the clot within one to two days. Additionally, a small vacuum-like instrument can remove any residual clots. A small device can also be placed in the vein to “catch” the blood clot but allow blood to flow through, preventing it from reaching the lungs. This is a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedure performed at our outpatient surgical suite. Our providers will work with you to ensure a good, long-term result.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about your options for DVT, meet with our knowledgeable providers. At South Florida Vascular Associates, we offer a comfortable and groundbreaking experience. Contact our Southeast Florida locations serving the greater Coconut Creek, Boynton Beach, and Plantation, FL areas.


William Julien, MD

Board-Certified Vascular Interventional Physician


Mana Khatkar, PA-C

Certified Physician Assistant


Anissa Rodriguez, NP-C

Certified Nurse Practitioner