Blood Clots/Deep Vein Thrombosis
Blood clots can form in the veins near the surface of the skin (called "superficial thrombophlebitis") or deeper in a vein of a limb, most commonly a leg ("deep vein thrombosis," or DVT). DVT is a more serious situation because part of the blood clot may break off and travel to the lungs, causing a potentially fatal complication known as a pulmonary embolism. The surgeons of White Plains Hospital employ blood thinners and, where needed, endovascular approaches to treat blood clots to prevent such complications.
Superficial thrombophlebitis and DVT may cause skin redness, inflammation, pain, and tenderness in the affected leg. There may also be increased warmth in the leg.
Doctors may order the following tests to diagnose blood clots:
- Duplex ultrasound (the use of high-energy sound waves to measure blood flow in the affected leg)
- Venography, in which x-rays and a special dye are used to visualize the affected veins
Duplex ultrasound is available at White Plains Hospital.
Thrombophlebitis is often treated with compression stockings and pain relievers, such as ibuprofen. Blood thinners such as heparin, enoxaparin, and/or warfarin are also commonly used to treat DVT.
To reduce the risk of a complication called "post-thrombotic syndrome" (which can cause pain, swelling, sensitivity, shooting nerve pains, and, in some cases, skin ulcers in the affected leg in up to half of all patients with DVT), vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists employ catheter-based "thrombolysis" treatments. A catheter armed with a special device is inserted into a vein (typically the popliteal vein behind the knee) and advanced to the site of the clot. The surgeons can infuse medication through the device to dissolve the clot, and then use the device to break up and remove the clot.