Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when a blood clot forms within a deep vein. Although most commonly seen in the left or right femoral vein, which is in the legs, deep vein thrombosis can also occur in other areas of the body such as in the deep veins in the arms or close to the neck. Although this disease is more prominent in people in their 60s, it is never too early to learn the fundamentals of a DVT to prevent yourself or someone close to you from this disease. Make sure that if you do show these symptoms to go and see your doctor immediately. Luckily, there has been innovative technology made to help combat and treat DVT. 

Symptoms of DVT

The first signs of DVT are not enough to fully determine whether or not if one has contracted the disease.  Some of the first symptoms one may experience could be:

  • Pain or tenderness in the legs
  • Redness or discoloration of skin
  • Swelling, especially in the legs

Unfortunately, it is also possible that one who has DVT may show no signs of having the disease at all, which can complicate things. However, if some of these signs are present, and if the you or the person you know have some of these and fit the general category of those who are at risk, it would be interest to have some tests conducted.

Some of the most common risk factors associated to the disease could be:

  • Obesity
  • ~60 years of age or older
  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Major surgery requiring bed rest
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Polycythemia vera 

Causes of DVT

The causes of DVT were originally categorized and put into a triangle model. The triangular model, known as Virchow’s triad, named after German physicist Rudolf Virchow, attributes the causes of thrombosis to three categories:

  1. Hypercoagulability
  2. Hemodynamic Changes
  3. Endothelial Injury/Dysfunction 

The Wells Score

The Wells Score was created to aid in determining the likeliness of a patient having either pulmonary embolism (PE) or deep vein thrombosis. Since its creation, there have been several models created, however they all still have the same intent. Regardless of the model, the Wells Score will include these criteria in one way or another:

  • Signs/Symptoms similar to either DVT or PE
  • > Heart Rate
  • Previous diagnosis or either DVT or PE
  • DVT or PE is the most likely diagnosis
  • Either a surgery or immobilization for several days

The questions asked are valued depending on their effect on the patient and its association to DVT. These questions can be valued anywhere from -2 to 3 points. In most cases, the model is separated into a 3 stage model:

  • Less than 2 means the patient is at low risk
  • 2-6 means the patient is at a moderate risk
  • Greater than 6 means that one is at high risk


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