Deep Vein Thrombosis

Your input helps shape an effective treatment plan.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when your blood clumps together to form a clot, usually in the legs.

As the name implies, the clot forms in a vein deep in your body. The worry is that if this clot becomes loose, it can travel through your bloodstream and become lodged in your lung. When this happens, the blood to your lungs is blocked (see pulmonary embolism). This can be very serious—even deadly in some cases. If you have DVT, it can cause your affected leg to ache, swell, feel usually warm or change color. But half of patients have no symptoms at all.

If you think you have DVT, you need to see a doctor right away. There are medications that can help thin your blood and prevent the clot from growing or breaking loose. Be sure to talk with your health care team about things that make you more likely to get DVT—for example, sitting in the same position for a long period of time, certain medications or other health problems.

Use this condition center to learn more about deep vein thrombosis, create a list of questions to ask your health care provider, and much more.

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