• Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) & Pulmonary Embolism

    The cardiovascular medicine specialists at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center are experienced at diagnosing and treating deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism (PE) that may develop as a result.

    Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) involves the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the leg. If this clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream, it can become lodged in the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal.

    Risk Factors for DVT

    Conditions that may increase the risk for DVT include:

    • Related medical conditions, such as varicose veins
    • Obesity
    • Pregnancy, including the first six weeks after giving birth
    • Cancer and its related treatments
    • Low blood flow in a deep vein due to injury, surgery, or immobilization
    • An inherited condition that causes increased risk for clotting
    • Sitting for a long period of time, including in cars or on airplanes
    • Being age 60 or over
    • Taking birth control pills or hormone therapy, including for postmenopausal symptoms
    • Having a central venous catheter

    Signs and Symptoms of DVT & PE

    Many people with DVT have no signs or symptoms. When they do occur, they may include:

    • Swelling of the leg
    • Pain or tenderness in the leg when standing or walking
    • Feeling of increased warmth in the area of the leg that is swollen or painful
    • Red or discolored skin

    A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency. Symptoms include chest pain when you take a deep breath and shortness of breath.

    DVT Treatment

    At Lahey, we offer various treatments for DVT to keep a PE from occurring. These include medications such as anticoagulants (blood thinners), thrombolytics (to dissolve a blood clot), and others.

    We also can place venous filters (also called vena cava filters), which may be used for patients who cannot take medications. The filter is inserted into a large vein called the vena cava to catch clots as they try to move toward the lungs. These patients are then followed in vascular medicine clinic to assess when an IVC filter is safe to be removed.

    In addition, our center features a Pulmonary Embolism Response Team (PERT), which is a multidisciplinary effort to diagnose and treat pulmonary embolism on an emergent basis.

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    (781) 744-8000