House Call: Deep Vein Thrombosis Pt. 1

Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. In Part I of our two part series, Brenda Conch, RN, MSN, director of Clinical Education at UHC, joins us to talk about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

1). What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and how many people are affected annually by DVT?

Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT occurs when blood clots form in the deep veins of the body, usually the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis, but they can also occur in other areas of the body such as the abdomen and arms.

A Pulmonary Embolism or PE occurs when a blood clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs. PE can be deadly. It is important to learn about VTE so that you can protect yourself.

The precise number of people affected by DVT/PE is unknown, although as many as 900,000 people could be affected (1 to 2 per 1,000) each year in the United States. However, One-third (about 33%) of people with DVT/PE will have a recurrence within 10 years.

2). What factors put you at risk for a blood clot?

There are many factors that put you at risk for a blood clot, as everyone is at risk for DVT, these would include:

  • having a major trauma
  • having had a blood clot in the past
  • having cancer
  • being age 55 and older
  • sitting during travel for longer than 4 hours
  • having a personal or family history of blood clots
  • being immobile (such as being on bed rest or difficulty with walking)
  • pregnancy, or using estrogen containing medications such as birth control pills, patches, and hormone replacement therapy
  • being obese Almost half of all blood clots occur either during or soon after discharge from a hospital stay or following a surgery. The more risk factors you have, the greater will be your risk of developing a blood clot.

3). Are there any long-term effects?

Unfortunately, the statistics are not good with regard to long-term effects for DVT. Among people who have had a DVT, one third to one half will have long-term complications (post-thrombotic syndrome) such as swelling, pain, discoloration, and scaling in the affected limb.

Estimates suggest that 60,000-100,000 Americans will die of DVT/PE (also called venous thromboembolism).

  • 10 to 30% of people will die within one month of diagnosis.
  • Sudden death is the first symptom in about one-quarter (25%) of people who have a PE.

Approximately 5 to 8% of the U.S. population has one of several genetic risk factors, also known as inherited thrombophilias in which a genetic defect can be identified that increases the risk for thrombosis.

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