Deep-vein thrombosis awareness month

March is deep-vein thrombosis awareness month

Every year, 1 in 1,000 people develop deep-vein thrombosis, commonly referred to as DVT. Therefore, awareness of DVT is of crucial importance to the understanding, prevention and treatment of the condition.

What is DVT?

DVT is a condition where blood clots form in deep veins, most typically the legs. If left untreated, blood clots can break off and travel to the lungs via the bloodstream, causing a blockage known as a pulmonary embolism, which is life-threatening.

What are the symptoms of DVT?

The main symptoms of DVT are:

  • A throbbing pain in one leg, usually in the calf or thigh, when walking or standing up.
  • Swelling in one leg
  • Warm skin around the painful area
  • Red or darkened skin around the painful area

DVT normally occurs in only one leg. It is very rare to occur in both.

Who is more likely to get DVT?

DVT is more likely to happen if you:

  • Are over 60 years old.
  • Are overweight.
  • Have a history of DVT.
  • Take the contraceptive pill or HRT.
  • Have cancer or heart failure.
  • Have varicose veins.
  • Have diabetes

There are also certain circumstances which can put you at higher risk of DVT, these include:

  • Staying in or recently leaving the hospital with limited movement (for example after an operation)
  • Are confined to your bed.
  • Go on a long journey (more than 3 hours) by plane, car or train.
  • If you are pregnant or have had your baby in the past 6 weeks.
  • Are dehydrated.

If you suspect that you might have DVT, you need to seek an urgent medical review. This may be through your GP, your local hospital if you have been in recently for a procedure or by contacting NHS 111.

If your doctor suspects that you have DVT, you should be referred to the hospital within 24 hours for an ultrasound. You should also have an X-ray of the vein.

Treatment and recovery for DVT

If you are diagnosed as having DVT, you will receive either of the following treatments:

  • Blood thinning medication
  • Surgery to remove blood clots or stop the formation of blood clots.

After you leave the hospital, you’ll be encouraged to walk regularly, keep your affected leg raised when sitting and delay any long travel commitments for at least 2 weeks in order to help your recovery.

How to prevent DVT

·       Stay a healthy weight

·       Stay active

·       Drink plenty of fluids

·       Do not sit still for long periods of time

·       Do not cross your legs while sitting

·       Do not smoke

·       Do not drink lots of alcohol

We deal with DVT related claims and you can read here about a successful case where we recovered compensation for a patient who suffered injury as a result of not being prescribed anticoagulant medication.

For guidance on making a medical negligence claim and details of no win, no fee funding call our free legal helpline on 0333 888 0404 or email us at [email protected]

Picture of Mia Nicholson

Mia Nicholson

Picture of Mia Nicholson

Mia Nicholson

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Call the Slee Blackwell helpline on 0333 888 0404