These clots form in veins deep inside the leg. The veins involved cannot be seen.
These most commonly form in the leg veins but can occur in other parts of the body such as the arms or intestines.
Your doctor may suspect that you have a deep vein thrombosis if you have some of the following symptoms.
- Pain – this can be anywhere in the leg but is commonly felt in the calf.
- Swelling – often most obvious around the ankle, but can involve the whole leg.
- Redness – a slight dusky discolouration of the leg is common.
- Warmth – the leg feels warm to touch.
These are the most common symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis but they are not all present in all cases.
Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus are treated with drugs called anticoagulants. These drugs do not dissolve the clot but work by slowing the normal clotting mechanism. This allows your body to naturally break down the blood clot. Several anticoagulants are are available. The choice of treatment depends on other risk factors and you should discuss this with your doctor.
The choices are
- low molecular weight heparin given as injections followed by warfarin tablets
- low molecular weight heparin given as injections followed by dabigatran (Pradaxa) tablets
- A direct oral anticoagulant (rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis), edoxaban (Savaysa) as tablets from diagnosis.
Treatment is usually given for 3 to 6 months, but could be longer if you have had a previous blood clot.