Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, most commonly the legs.
If left untreated, it can cause severe medical conditions, including pulmonary embolism, the leading cause of maternal death in the United States.
March is national Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month, a public health initiative aimed at raising awareness of this commonly occurring medical condition and its potentially fatal complication; pulmonary embolism.
In the United States, 74% of adults have little or no awareness of DVT.
Leading medical, public health and patient advocacy groups are sponsoring the observance and are working to increase awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of DVT.
DVT occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) forms in the deep vein, resulting in partially or completely blocked circulation.
Symptoms of DVT can include swelling, pain, discoloration and abnormally hot skin at the affected area.
Unfortunately, nearly half of DVT episodes have minimal, if any, symptoms.
These “silent” afflictions are particularly worrisome.
While DVT below the knee is unlikely to cause serious complications, clots above the knee can break off and travel up the bloodstream, resulting in a blocked blood vessel in the lung.
Other consequences are damaged blood vessels leading to blood pooling, swelling and pain in the leg, and in the most severe cases with large clots, death.
Certain individuals are more at risk for deep-vein thrombosis than others.
Those with prior DVT, obesity, stroke, pregnancy, undergoing major surgery, over the age of 65 and those who are confined to long periods of immobility via travel or bed rest are more likely to be afflicted.
- New survey reveals Americans have little knowledge of DVT (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS42332+22-Feb-2008+PRN20080222).