Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) are both life-threatening blood clots. DVT refers to blood clots in the legs while PE refers to a blood clot that has traveled to the lungs and requires immediate medical attention. DVT and PE combined are known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). Most DVT symptoms, if there are any, are in the leg and include swelling, pain, warmth and redness. PE symptoms include trouble breathing, a sharp chest pain with breathing, coughing up blood and a rapid heartbeat.
Risk factors for blood clots include:
- Prolonged periods of sitting (in a car, on an airplane, etc.)
- Hormones (during pregnancy or estrogen contraceptives)
- Family history of clotting disorders
- Previous DVT
Your primary care provider or emergency physician may refer you to the Surgical Care Group for treatment if you have a DVT. If you’ve experienced venous blood clots or a pulmonary embolism in the past, an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter may also be recommended. An IVC filter is a small device that can stop blood clots from going up into the lungs. The IVC is a large vein in the middle of your body. The device is put in during a short surgery.