Ref: CHB/HB/52/16                                                                       


What is DVT? 

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the deep veins in the body.
Blood clots that develop in a vein are also known as venous thrombosis. DVT usually occurs in a deep leg vein, a larger vein that runs through the muscles of the calf and the thigh.

It can cause pain and swelling in the leg and may lead to complications such as pulmonary embolism.
This is when a piece of blood clot breaks off into the bloodstream and blocks one of the blood vessels in the lungs.
DVT and pulmonary embolism together are known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Who is at risk?

Each year, 1 in every 1,000 people is affected by DVT.
Anyone can develop DVT, but it becomes more common with age. As well as age, risk factors include: 

  • Previous venous thromboembolism
  • A family history of blood clots
  • Medical conditions such as cancer and heart failure
  • Inactivity – for example, after an operation
  • Being overweight or obese

Warning signs

In some cases of DVT, there may be no symptoms, but it is important to be aware of the signs and risk factors of thrombosis.

See your GP as soon as possible if you think you may have a blood clot. DVT can cause pain, swelling and a heavy ache in your leg.

Treating DVT

Treatment for DVT usually involves taking anticoagulant medicines, which help reduce the ability of the blood to clot.
Doctor will also prescribe compression stockings to wear every day, as these help prevent complications and improve symptoms.

Avoiding DVT

There are several things you can do to help prevent DVT occurring, such as stopping smoking, losing weight if you are overweight, and walking regularly to improve the circulation in your legs. There is no evidence that supports taking aspirin to reduce your risk of developing DVT.

Assessing risk

Surgery and some medical treatments can increase your risk of developing DVT. It is estimated that 25,000 people who are admitted to hospital die from preventable blood clots each year.


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