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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Prevention

 

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition whereby a blood clot forms in the veins of the leg. These clots can cause inflammation and/or leg ulcers. The biggest risk is that they can travel up the vein towards the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (lung clot) which can block blood flow, and even result in death.

 

Cause  

When the muscles in the leg are active, compression of the veins by muscles occurs which pushes the flow of blood upwards towards the heart. DVTs are formed when the blood flow through the veins is slowed down as a result of injury, surgery or sitting down for long periods of time.      

 

Prevention  

A number of preventative measures may be taken to reduce your risk of DVT, such as:  

  • taking medications exactly as prescribed,  
  • avoiding sitting still for long periods of time,  
  • getting regular exercise, and  
  • losing excess weight.  

 

Long haul air travel and illness or surgery also increase the risk of developing a DVT, so at these times it is important to take precautionary measures.      

 

Advice whilst travelling  

There is a small, but significant increase in DVT risk in those travelling on flights for a long period of time, especially those which are more than four hours. It may be beneficial for travellers to:  

  • move around as much as possible during the flight,  
  • drink plenty of water,  
  • avoid alcohol, and  
  • wear loose clothing.  

 

After illness or surgery  

DVT risk is also increased in those who have suffered an injury or have had a surgical procedure. A number of preventative measures that may be taken include:  

  • your doctor prescribing anticoagulant or blood thinning medications to reduce risk of clots,  
  • getting out of bed as soon as possible after having surgery,  
  • exercising the leg muscles, and  
  • wearing compression stockings.  

 

Disclaimer  

The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.  

 

Sources  

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Deep_vein_thrombosis

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt/prevention.html