What AFib Patients Should Know About Deep Vein Thrombosis

Preventing and Treating DVT

AFib and DVT: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment of Deep Vein ThrombosisIf you have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, you have an elevated risk of developing blood clots. In addition to taking medication that controls your heart rate and rhythm, it is likely that you currently take a medication designed to prevent blood clots from forming.

A blood clot may lodge in a superficial or deep vein. The technical term for a blood clot that develops in a vein that is located within the deep tissues of your legs or other body parts is deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.

Why Blood Clots Form

If you have atrial fibrillation, your heart doesn’t not contract as rhythmically as it should. Blood may pool and clot. Certain medications, including corticosteroids, such as prednisone, for an inflammatory condition, you have a higher than normal risk of forming blood clots.

Many people who have atrial fibrillation have other cardiac problems. Conditions such as congestive heart failure and heart attack increase the likelihood of DVT formation. If you have problems with the valves within your heart, blood may pool and cause clots to develop.

Atrial fibrillation occurs most frequently as we grow older. With advanced age, or if atrial fibrillation makes you feel dizzy or lightheaded, you may not get enough exercise. Lack of exercise is a risk factor for clot formation. If you take long trips or sit with your legs crossed, your blood may pool in your legs. This can create clots.


Conditions which increase inflammation make the linings of your veins rough, rather than smooth. Small clots can lodge and grow easier than within healthy veins. If you have recently been hospitalized and required the use of intravenous medications, such as potassium, your chances of developing a blood clot may increase.

Several diseases can increase your risk of developing a DVT. Many people who have atrial fibrillation suffer from diabetes, and diabetics have a higher risk of DVT when compared with non-diabetics.

If you smoke or take hormonal medications, such as birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy, your blood clots more readily than if you are a non-smoker or do not use hormonal medications. Additionally, certain types of blood disorders and cancer increase your chances of getting a clot.

And sometimes, the reason why blood clots form is never determined.

Next page: preventing blood clots and signs and symptoms of DVT.

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