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Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein, most commonly in leg veins. Deep vein thrombosis can be a complication of varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Three factors are important in the formation of a blood clot within a deep vein:

  • The composition of the blood
  • Quality of the vessel wall
  • Nature of the blood flow

Approximately half of people with deep vein thrombosis are asymptomatic, however, common symptoms include pain and tenderness, swelling, warmth, redness or discoloration, and distention of surface veins. However, signs and symptoms are neither sufficiently sensitive nor specific to make a diagnosis. When taken together with the risk factors, they are useful in determining the likelihood of deep vein thrombosis.


Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) inside a blood vessel, which obstructs the flow of blood through the circulatory system. When a blood vessel is injured, or has faulty valves, blood thickens and begins to form a blood clot. When injury occurs, this is the body’s first step in repairing and preventing blood loss.


Embolus occurs when a clot forms and then breaks free. These clots travel in the blood stream and can lodge in the brain causing a stroke, or in the lungs, which is known as pulmonary embolism or PE. These are true medical emergencies.

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