Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a serious condition that can cause long-term health complications, including pulmonary embolism and post-thrombotic syndrome. Get clarity about these conditions and be sure to talk to your doctor about ways to help prevent them.
• Pulmonary Embolism
If all or part of a blood clot breaks loose and travels to your lung, it can block blood flow and cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). Since PE is usually caused by a DVT blood clot, the combined condition is sometimes called venous thromboembolism, or VTE.
Pulmonary embolism can cause permanent damage to the affected lung, harm other organs due to lack of oxygen, and even cause death. That’s why it's so important to know the symptoms of a PE and seek immediate medical help if they happen.
• Post-Thrombotic Syndrome
Many people with DVT blood clots will recover completely. But up to 50% will develop post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), a condition that can cause chronic pain, swelling, and discomfort that can permanently affect your quality of life. PTS occurs when a blood clot damages the valves in your veins, inhibiting the natural flow of blood back to your lungs.
Blood-thinning medications are critical in reducing the risk for short-term complications of DVT such as pulmonary embolism, but they do not dissolve or remove the clot. Some patients may be candidates for treatments that can help clear the clot, potentially reducing the risk of long-term complications such as PTS. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all your DVT treatment options.