Venous thrombosis occurs from clots forming inside a vein. They can occur in the superficial veins, which is usually a minor problem. This is usually treated with warm compresses and will resolve spontaneously. When the clot occurs in the deep veins (deep venous thrombosis; DVT), this becomes a serious life-threatening problem. If untreated, the clots can break off and travel to the lung causing a pulmonary embolus resulting in death.
Deep venous thrombosis can occur from trauma to the deep veins, vein stasis that occurs during surgical procedures, prolonged bed rest, or from genetically inheritable conditions that cause blood to clot more (hypercoagulable disorders). The usual treatment involves anticoagulation therapy utilizing blood-thinning drugs. If found early, the clot may be removed and dissolved by catheters inserted into the vein under x-ray guidance with infusion of strong lytic agents.
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