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Vascular Conditions

Deep Vein Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolism

Also Known As:
Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT, venous thrombosis, deep vein thrombophlebitis
Pulmonary Embolism – PE

Thrombosis is the process of blood clot formation. When the deep veins in the legs develop blood clots, it is known as deep vein thrombosis. The clot (thrombus) can either cause a partial block, which narrows the blood vessel, or a complete block, which cuts off the blood supply.

Technically, clots can occur in veins throughout the body, but they are most commonly noticed in the legs, thighs, and the pelvic area. DVT becomes a medical emergency when the clot breaks off and travels to other areas of the body, especially the lungs (causing a pulmonary embolism). It can also cause chronic venous insufficiency.

Note: Not everyone may experience all symptoms

  • Smoking or the use of other tobacco products
  • Standing or sitting for a long period of time
  • Long journeys or bed rest for a long period of time such as after surgery.
  • Weak blood vessels (AV Malformations)
  • Blood-clotting disorders
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Trauma
  • Surgery
  • Heart failure
  • Family history
  • Cancer and/or chemotherapy
  • Age – older adults are more affected
  • Sex – more common in females

Cushman M. Epidemiology and risk factors for venous thrombosis. Semin Hematol. 2007;44(2):62-69. doi:10.1053/j.seminhematol.2007.02.004
Stone J, Hangge P, Albadawi H, et al. Deep vein thrombosis: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and medical management. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2017;7(Suppl 3):S276-S284. doi:10.21037/cdt.2017.09.01
Nielsen JD. The incidence of pulmonary embolism during deep vein thrombosis. Phlebology. 2013 Mar;28 Suppl 1:29-33. doi: 10.1177/0268355513477009. PMID: 23482531.
Kruger PC, Eikelboom JW, Douketis JD, Hankey GJ. Deep vein thrombosis: update on diagnosis and management. Med J Aust. 2019;210(11):516-524. doi:10.5694/mja2.50201
Bikdeli B, Madhavan MV, Jimenez D, et al. COVID-19 and Thrombotic or Thromboembolic Disease: Implications for Prevention, Antithrombotic Therapy, and Follow-Up: JACC State-of-the-Art Review. J Am Coll Cardiol 2020; 75:2950.