Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, most commonly the legs. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, redness, or warmth of the affected area. About half of cases have no symptoms. Complications may include pulmonary embolism, as a result of detachment of a clot which travels to the lungs, and post-thrombotic syndrome.
Risk factors include recent surgery, cancer, trauma, lack of movement, obesity, smoking, hormonal birth control, pregnancy and the period following birth, antiphospholipid syndrome, and certain genetic conditions. Genetic factors include deficiencies of antithrombin, protein C, and protein S, and factor V Leiden mutation. The underlying mechanism typically involves some combination of decreased blood flow rate, increased tendency to clot, and injury to the blood vessel wall.
Individuals suspected of having DVT may be assessed using a clinical prediction rule such as the Wells score. A D-dimer test may also be used to assist with excluding the diagnosis or to signal a need for further testing. Diagnosis is most commonly confirmed by ultrasound of the suspected veins. Together, DVT and pulmonary embolism are known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Anticoagulation (blood thinners) is the standard treatment. Typical medications include low-molecular-weight heparin, warfarin, or a direct oral anticoagulant. Wearing graduated compression stockings may reduce the risk of post-thrombotic syndrome. Prevention may include early and frequent walking, calf exercises, aspirin, anticoagulants, graduated compression stockings, or intermittent pneumatic compression. The rate of DVTs increases from childhood to old age; in adulthood, about one in 1000 adults are affected per year. About 5% of people are affected by a VTE at some point in time.