Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

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The formation of a clot in a deep vein, usually located in the lower extremities or pelvis, is known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).


The formation of a clot in a deep vein is believed to be precipitated by Virchow's Triad:

  • Venous Stasis - This refers to the factors that cause a reduction in blood flow, such as immobility, congestive cardiac failure, dehydration and venous obstruction.
  • Endothelial Injury - Trauma, inflammation and previous thrombosis can lead to injury to the endothelium, the layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels.
  • Hypercoagulable State - Malignancy, oestrogen therapy, surgery and abnormalities of the clotting cascade can result in a hypercoagulable state.


The most common symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis are pain, swelling, erythema, warmth and pitting oedema.


Homan's Sign is a reliable indicator of a clot. It is defined as an increase in pain on dorsiflexion in the calf; a sign indicative of DVT.


  • Bloods: D-dimer
  • Imaging: Ultrasound Doppler studies, venogram.


  • Medical: Low molecular weight heparin, oral anticoagulant, support stockings and investigation of the underlying cause along with IVC filter.


Complications can include pulmonary embolism, thrombus extension, post thrombotic syndrome and recurrence of DVT.


If Deep Vein Thrombosis is promptly and adequately treated, the prognosis is usually good, however, there is still a risk of recurrence.

Text Box: Virchow’s Triad Mnemonic:  “HE’S Virchow”  Hypercoagulable State  Endothelial Injury  Stasis (Venous)

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