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Legs have two sets of veins—superficial veins and the deep veins that drain blood from the leg muscles. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in the veins deep in the leg, usually in the calf or thigh, although DVT can occur in other veins including the pelvis and rarely in the arms [1, 2]. DVT can partially or completely block blood flow through a vein but not everyone with DVT will experience symptoms .
Doctors refer to DVT as distal or proximal; distal DVT refers to DVT of the calf, proximal DVT refers to DVT above the knee and above a major vein called the popliteal vein . Most DVT form in the calf area and many do not cause any symptoms. Proximal DVT is more serious than distal DVT. One in two people with untreated proximal DVT will develop symptomatic PE within 3 months .
The figure shows a typical DVT in a deep vein of the leg.
In many cases of DVT, the clots are small and do not cause any symptoms . Most patients have symptoms when there is proximal vein involvement and these symptoms can include :
Always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about DVT or if you think you have symptoms of DVT.
A DVT may not cause further problems, but complications of DVT can occur. These include:
VTEMatters offers general information only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice.
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