Signs and Symptoms of DVT
If the clot is in one of your legs, you may notice:
- Swelling of that extremity
- The leg may feel tender or heavy.
- The skin of your leg may feel tense, be reddened, and warm to the touch.
- You may run a fever.
If the clot is located behind your knee or in your calf, you may experience an increase in pain when you flex your foot upward.
Clots in other parts of your body may result in swelling and discoloration of both legs. If the clot is located in one of the large vessels of your upper body, you may experience swelling of your head, neck, back, and arms. Your complexion may be red, blue, purple, or pale.
Treatment of DVT
If you have a DVT, you need to be hospitalized. You require treatment in order to prevent the clot from growing or travelling to your vital organs. You need medications which prevent pain and reduce inflammation.
Medical professionals rely on several techniques to reach a diagnosis of DVT. Expect to be asked about your medical history. A complete physical examination is needed, blood and imaging tests are utilized, an EKG will be performed, and specialized vein studies may be needed.
You will initially be on bedrest. Warm, moist heat may be applied locally if the clot is located in a limb. You will wear a heart monitor and staff will frequently monitor your vital signs and pain level.
Measures will be taken to relieve your discomfort. You will be provided with compression stockings that are designed to enhance the return of blood from your legs.
Heparin will be administered continuously through an intravenous infusion. Blood tests will be conducted frequently so that your heparin can be given at the proper dosage.
Before you are discharged from the hospital, you will learn how to self-administer heparin by using a prefilled syringe with a small needle attached. After discharge, you will administer the medication under your skin, in your abdomen, for an extended period of time.
You will also receive ongoing education about nutrition and measures you need to take to prevent bleeding that may result from heparin therapy.
Eventually you will discontinue the use of heparin. At that point, you will be prescribed warfarin or another drug that prevents blood clots, if you are not already taking it. If you take warfarin, you will need frequent blood tests to ensure that you are receiving the proper dosage.
Other blood thinners, anticoagulants, which require less testing, are available. Your health care provider will select the drug which is best for your particular needs. Anticoagulant medications possess multiple risks and benefits. You will need to be on anticoagulant medication for the rest of your life.
Some people require surgical placement of a tiny filter within a large blood vessel in order to prevent clots from lodging in their lungs. It is a simple procedure, commonly performed without complications.