Deep venous thrombosis

Synonyms: DVT, Deep vein thrombosis

Medical Specialties: Emergency medicine, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

A deep venous thrombosis refers to a stationary blood clot, or thrombus formation, inside a vein. It usually develops in proximal veins of the lower extremities, and elements believed to contribute to thrombus formation include vascular injury, blood stasis and hypercoagulability. A pulmonary embolism is a serious complication of deep venous thrombosis. 

In Our Own Words

A deep venous thrombosis, or a blood clot along the wall of a blood vessel, develops when blood pools and forms a clot in a vein. Most common sites for DVT include the veins of the lower leg and the pelvis. In some instances, this condition can compromise vascular integrity of a limb.

Risk factors of DVT are surgery, leg injuries and fractures. Limited mobility from an injury or surgery causes a decrease in blood circulation, causing blood to pool and a clot (or embolus) to form. In some cases, a fragment of the clot can break and travel to the vessels of the lung, which indicates a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Call 911 immediately.   

Relevant Conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Malignancy
  • Pulmonary embolism
Common Types
  • At the iliac vein
  • At the femoral vein
Side Effects
  • Pain in the leg
  • Swelling in the leg
  • Skin redness
Share this article
  • Vascular Disease Foundation. Deep Vein Thrombosis. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • Cleveland Clinic. Deep Vein Thrombosis. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • Rush Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Center. “What is a DVT?” Accessed Aug. 2013.
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