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Fight the “Silent Killer” with VVC during DVT Awareness Month

By Dr. Samuel P. Martin

March is DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) awareness month. It has only been in the last few years that the public has become aware of the significance of clots in the deep veins. Several years ago, journalist David Bloom lost his life in the Middle East because of a pulmonary Embolus (a clot from the leg that broke off and traveled to the lung). Hillary Clinton and Serena Williams also have suffered from blood clots, as did former President Nixon.

DVT is often referred to as the “Silent Killer” in hospital death from pulmonary embolus and is the single  largest cause of death in patients who are admitted with another diagnosis. Patients at greatest risk are those who have had abdominal, pelvic and orthopedic procedures and those with cancer, strokes and heart disease, as well as patients who have suffered with trauma and are at bed rest. Every year in this country, an estimated 5 million people manifest deep vein thrombosis; 650,000 of them have a pulmonary embolism and up to 200,000 die. The true prevalence of pulmonary thromboembolism is much greater than the reported number. The death toll is higher than deaths from HIV, motor vehicle accidents and breast cancer combined.

Causes of DVT

Clots in the legs occur for various reasons. Below are the factors that put people at risk for DVT:

Preventing DVT

Following an injury or surgery around the pelvis, hip, abdomen or legs, prevention of DVT is essential. Prevention involves early mobilization, pneumatic compression of the legs while in the operating room and until the patient becomes active, and the use of anticoagulants (blood thinners), especially in those with previous episodes of DVT or family history of clots, as well as those with cancer.

Treating DVT

Superficial clots are treated with warm or cold compresses and anti-inflammatory drugs. Despite a pink discoloration that may appear over thrombosed superficial veins, antibiotics are not necessary- this is inflammation, not infection. Anticoagulation is not necessary with superficial clots unless the clot spreads or is close to a deep vein.

We encourage you to get moving, elevate your legs when sitting and wear compression stockings for healthy, beautiful legs that never let you down. And if you or someone you know has symptoms of DVT, please schedule a Priority Consultation with our experienced staff quickly to identify any potential problems before they become a major health concern.

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