The term “venous thromboembolism” is used to collectively describe deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, and is a condition wherein a blood clot forms inside a person’s vein. If the vein affected by a blood clot is deep inside the body, the condition is referred to as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which most often occurs in the veins of the legs or pelvis.
Patients with DVT are in danger of suffering a pulmonary embolism that can cause permanent damage to the affected lung, heart failure, and death. Symptoms may include pain, tenderness, and swelling of the calf below the knee, breathing problems, and chest pain and collapse. Risk factors are immobility (due to operation, illness, injury, long journeys, etc.), which causes blood flow in the veins to be slowed, damage to the inside lining of the vein, contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapies that contain estrogen, pregnancy, and obesity.
An inherited risk factor can be identified in over half of the patients with DVT without identifiable cause or thrombosis at a young age. Main therapy is with anticoagulation drugs that avoid the formation of new blood clots.