The link between deep vein thrombosis & pulmonary embolism

Deep vein thrombosis is a venous disease that is often associated with pulmonary embolism. But what exactly is the link between these two diseases?  To answer that, we need to know a little bit about both.

What is DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Simply put, deep vein thrombosis is a clot of blood that has formed in a deep vein of a limb. These blood clots typically form in the pelvis or legs, but they can develop in the arm as well. Deep vein thrombosis can be asymptomatic. In fact, almost half of all sufferers do not have any symptoms, but those who do often experience the following:

  • Pain in or around the area or limb affected
  • Inflammation or swelling around the area affected
  • Tenderness in the skin above the clot, the skin may be warm to the touch
  • Discoloration or redness of the skin near the clot
  • Heavy sensation or fatigue in the legs
  • Sudden appearance of veins that are easily visible in the skin

If you notice these symptoms or they appear suddenly, it is important to find a vein doctor right away.  Vein treatment can successfully alleviate the symptoms of DVT and prevent further damage to blood vessels. But if left untreated, deep vein thrombosis can quickly become a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism or PE?

One of the more serious side effects of deep vein thrombosis is a pulmonary embolism, also known as PE. A pulmonary embolism happens when a piece of the blood clot breaks away and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs. Like deep vein thrombosis, a pulmonary embolism may not have any symptoms. However, if there are symptoms, they typically include:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent coughing
  • A “wet” cough that contains blood
  • Dizziness or a lightheaded sensation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain that gets worse with a cough or deep breath
  • Unexplained sweating

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

DVT/PE Treatment

Treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism is aimed at primarily at prevention:

  • Preventing further growth of the clot
  • Preventing a piece of the clot from breaking away and traveling to the lungs
  • Preventing another deep vein thrombosis from forming in another vein

At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, our doctors use state-of-the-art ultrasound vein mapping to pinpoint the DVT and run blood tests to determine the extent of the venous disease.

Dr. Gilvydis will tailor your treatment to your needs which may include blood thinners to dissolve the clot. If you think you have a DVT or venous disease, contact us today to schedule a consultation at our Sycamore or Geneva medical offices.