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Risks and Symptoms of a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that is characterized by a blood clot(s) occurring in the veins inside an individual’s muscles. It mainly occurs in legs, although it can also form in the chest arms and even in other body parts. The symptoms of DVT include soreness and inflammation of body parts where the clot forms. In some cases, the clot forms in the blood vessels that carry blood to the brain, heart, or even lungs.
In such a situation, DVT becomes fatal due to organ damages. Becattini, Agnelli, and Schenone (2012, p.1959) explain that people can easily develop a suspicion that they have DVT when they experience severe inexplicable pain in their ankle or foot. Such people may also have some areas of the skin feeling warmer compared to others that surround the specific region.
The skin in the affected area turns pale, reddish, or sometimes bluish. However, the condition may not be easily detected among some people until they have undergone treatment for pulmonary embolism in an emergency condition (Geersing, Zuithoff, Kearon, & Anderson, 2014). This situation is associated with risky complications that arise from DVT.
Potential Complications from DVT
Pulmonary embolism is one of the probable complications of DVT. The artery that supplies blood to the lungs becomes blocked, often causing death in a few hours when the condition is not addressed promptly. When the complication is detected, patients are given emergency admission when a medical practitioner can help to manage the condition. Signs such as increased heart rate, cough with blood droplets, breathing rapidly, sweating, and dizziness accompany pulmonary embolism (Geersing et al., 2014). Patients may also experience chest pains, which become worse after coughing or even when taking a deep breath.
People who have had DVT may also develop post-thrombotic syndrome, which constitutes a long-term symptom. Van der et al. (2011) assert that the syndrome affects 20 percent to 40 percent of people diagnosed with DVT. The ongoing research on the causes of PTS has not arrived at a unanimous agreement on the causes of the condition.
However, Geersing et al. (2014) observe that inflammation and damaged venous valves are contributing factors. The damaged venous valves due to thrombus and obstructions of the veins because of DVT cause blood diversion to other veins, a situation that results in a rise of blood pressure. Resulting hypertension translates into the rupturing of superficial veins, hence leading to a subcutaneous flow of blood. Consequently, tissue permeability increases. The aftermath may include pain, swellings, ulceration, and the discoloration of the affected areas.
Necessary Tests to rule out DVT
A medical practitioner can only rule out any potential danger of a suspected medical condition by conducting tests that lead to the right diagnosis. In this process, he or she may have to conduct differential diagnoses (Goolsby & Grubbs, 2015). In the case of DVT, the D-dimer test is necessary. However, such a necessity depends on the clinical assessments that help to determine the appropriateness of the test. For example, for patients who are highly unlikely to have the condition, a normal D-dimer test helps in ruling out the use of any other alternative diagnosis.
This finding underlines the applicability of the principle of probability in helping to order a suitable test, which can help to rule out DVT. An apt prediction rule when diagnosing DVT entails the Wells’ score (Geersing et al., 2014). For individuals with a high probability of getting DVT, imaging is required. However, it is recommended to first complete the D-dimer test before deploying imaging using techniques such as ultrasound testing, CT scan technology, or contrast venography.
Becattini, C, Agnelli, G, & Schenone, A. (2012). Aspirin for preventing the recurrence of venous thromboembolism, Engl J Med, 366(21), 1959–1966.
Geersing, J., Zuithoff, P., Kearon, C., & Anderson, R. (2014). Exclusion of deep vein thrombosis using the Wells rule in clinically important subgroups: individual patient data meta-analysis. The BMJ, 348(1), 1340-1340.
Goolsby, J., & Grubbs, L. (2015). Advanced Assessment Interpreting Findings and Formulating Differential Diagnoses. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.
Van der, V., Toll, B., Ten Cate-Hoek, J., Oudega, R., Stoffers, E., Bossuyt, M. (2011). Comparing the diagnostic performance of 2 clinical decision rules to rule out deep vein thrombosis in primary care patients. Ann Fam Med, 9(2), 31-36.