Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A condition where a blood clot forms in a deep leg vein, most commonly in the calf or thigh.

This can cause a partial or full blockage of the blood flow in this area. At this stage DVT is not life threatening, but it has the potential to become dangerous if complications occur. If you suspect you may have a DVT you urgently need an ultrasound of your deep veins which can be performed at Palm Clinic.  If we discover a DVT, management is with blood thinning medication to prevent extension of the blood clot.

What are the symptoms of DVT?

  • localised leg pain
  • enlargement of the superficial veins
  • skin discolouration
  • warm skin
  • swelling in the affected leg

When does DVT become dangerous?

Deep Vein Thrombosis becomes particularly dangerous if the blood clot that occurred in the deep leg vein begins to move through the body. The clot can dislodge from the leg vein and flow up to attach itself to an artery in the lung. This is called a Pulmonary Embolus and can be a life threatening condition. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing blood.

Who is likely to develop DVT?

Clot formation tends to occur when the blood flow is restricted in a vein. The decreased flow and poor circulation can have a number of causes. No one is immune to the risk of DVT however there are individuals who are considered “high-risk”.

You may be at risk if you:

  • have had recent physical damage to a deep leg vein* (from surgery or a serious knock)
    undergo long-haul car or plane travel (over four hours duration)
  • have heart disease*
  • have Diabetes*
  • have had a recent heart attack or stroke*
  • have other conditions such as liver disease, infections and some cancers*
  • are over 40 years of age
  • are pregnant
  • are overweight
  • are on the contraceptive pill
  • have varicose veins or a history of circulatory problems*
  • are a smoker
  • have a tendency to clotting (thrombophilia)

* Those with one or more of these conditions (marked with an asterisk) should seek medical advice before travelling and choosing appropriate compression hosiery.

How to prevent DVT?

People taking long haul flights (over 4 hours) can take a number of precautions to help reduce the risk of getting Deep Vein Thrombosis:

  • Wearing Compression Hosiery – Palm Clinic has a range of Stockings available. Compression hosiery can help travellers by providing legs with the extra support they require to ensure correct circulation. This helps blood return back to the heart and lungs preventing leg swelling. Seek medical advice before choosing appropriate compression hosiery.
  • Drink lots of non alcoholic/decaffeinated fluids – this will help to stop dehydration. Drinking plenty of water is recommended, and avoiding alcohol, coffee and tea as these dehydrate the body.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes.
    Use the footrest – particularly if your legs do not reach the floor comfortably.
  • Walk around the cabin – and do exercises to contract and relax calf muscles and ankles throughout the flight. Inactivity causes blood to build up in the lower parts of the body such as the ankles, calves and feet. This is due to the veins being unable to pump the blood to the heart, as they rely on leg muscle movement to pump the blood upwards.
  • Do not cross your legs – this increases the pressure on the lower leg and restricts blood circulation.

Vein care for confidence and comfort at every step.

Consulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam DunnConsulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam Dunn

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