The Danger of a Blood Clot

Comprehensive Vascular Lab

The clotting mechanism of our blood cells is crucial in stemming the flow of blood in a cut or wound. But it can be life threatening when it occurs inside our veins. Blood clots in the veins are known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). We diagnose and treat DVT at Desert Vein & Vascular.

What is deep vein thrombosis and where does it occur?

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when the flow of blood in the blood vessels changes or the clotting system of the blood vessels is abnormal. When a clot forms, the patient has deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DVT can occur in any vein, but it is most common in the legs. This can occur in a small vein in the leg, or the vein can travel the entire length of the leg. A clot in the leg can lead to swelling, pain, and color changes in the leg.

Clots are always a concern, but when a clot detaches from the wall of a vein and travels to the lungs, this can be life threatening. This is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE).

DVT and PE are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

What are risk factors for VTE?

  • Family history of DVT or PE
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Sitting for prolonged periods
  • Recent surgery
  • Current or recent pregnancy
  • Current or previous cancer
  • Certain medications such as oral contraceptives
  • Injury or trauma
  • Excessive weight
  • Smoking

Why is a pulmonary embolism dangerous?

When blood clots break free and travel to the lungs, they are usually small enough that blood can still get around the clot and into the lungs. The flow is decreased, however. In some cases, the clot is large enough to block the majority of the blood flow, and this can lead to heart failure.

What are the symptoms I may have a PE?

Common symptoms for a pulmonary embolism:

Shortness of breath

Chest pain when taking a deep breath

Cough, sometimes bloody or with a frothy pink quality

Increased heart rate

From the prescription of blood thinning medication to performing a thrombectomy, we are experts dealing with DVT and PE at Desert Vein & Vascular Institute. If you have any of the symptoms of DVT or PE, call us immediately at (623) 847-3884.

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