Are you experiencing unusual pain or swelling in your arm or leg? While this is not always a reason for concern, it can be a warning sign of a much more serious condition: blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). What is deep vein thrombosis, and when should you consider treatment? Learn about deep vein thrombosis treatment and diagnosis in New Orleans from Cardiovascular Institute of the South’s Leg & Vein Center.
What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot forms within a deep vein. Blood clots can be caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices, including obesity and sedentary behavior. But, other factors such as genetics, current or recent pregnancy, and certain health conditions may increase the risk of developing clots as well. Warning signs of DVT include darker, redder patches on the skin and swelling on the arms or legs that is painful and warm to the touch.
DVT occurs most often in the lower leg or thigh, though cases of DVT are also possible in the pelvis and arms. Not only can this deep blood clot inhibit blood flow, but it can also cause serious health events. If this blood clot dislodges from its position in the vein, it can move through the circulatory system and into the lungs.
A blood clot blocking the arteries in the lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism, can cause:
- Severe or sharp chest pain
- Sudden onset breathing issues accompanied by dizziness
- Increased heart rate
- Discolored skin
- And coughing, often with bloody sputum
If you experience any of the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, consult with a physician as soon as possible. DVT may indicate other severe health concerns, and a pulmonary embolism may be life-threatening. Even if symptoms are not currently noticeable, make sure to consult with a cardiologist to assess the health of your veins and determine if you are a candidate for deep vein thrombosis treatment in New Orleans.
What Are Traditional Methods of Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment?
If you have a family history of venous disease or deep vein thrombosis, or if you are currently showing signs of DVT, schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Cardiovascular Institute of the South. Your doctor will begin with a diagnosis to determine the root cause of your issues or address any concerns.
There are several methods for diagnosing DVT including:
- Imaging tests using ultrasound, CT, or MRI
- Venography, a procedure utilizing X-ray imaging
- Blood tests
This testing allows your cardiologist to view your veins and identify any current blood clots. Or with blood testing, your specialist will search for signs of D-dimer, a protein fragment left over after blood clots dissolve within the veins. If your levels of D-dimer are high, this may indicate a blood clotting disorder.
After diagnosing your issue, your doctor will recommend deep vein thrombosis treatment in New Orleans. For deep vein thrombosis, Cardiovascular Institute of the South offers a few methods of treatment.
Medication for Deep Vein Thrombosis
Your doctor may prescribe anti-coagulation medication to help target your blood clots. Blood thinners help to minimize the size of blood clots and prevent others from forming. Or, your doctor may administer clot-dissolving medication through a catheter to break down the clot within the vein. With endovascular treatment, your doctor can surgically enter a vein to inject medicine directly into a blood clot. This type of medication is recommended for more severe cases of DVT.
Filters & Surgery
In serious cases, a doctor may recommend placing a stent in the vein to prevent or manage deep vein thrombosis. These small metal tubes can be inserted into specific veins throughout the body to help hold open the vein. This improves blood flow and manages blood clotting.
For patients at risk of pulmonary embolism, your doctor may suggest the placement of a vena cava filter. This device helps to filter blood as it passes through the vena cava—the body’s largest vein located in the heart. This filter prevents blood clots from forming and moving into the lungs.
Find Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment in New Orleans
There’s no time like the present to monitor the health of your veins. Whether you are concerned about deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or the general state of your cardiovascular system, a cardiovascular specialist can perform a thorough assessment.
Are you ready to understand your risk of deep vein thrombosis or simply consult with a doctor about your cardiovascular health? Reach out to Cardiovascular Institute of the South’s Leg & Vein Center. Call your closest treatment center or request a DVT appointment today.