Venous Insufficiency & Deep Vein Thrombosis
Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when leg veins cannot efficiently move oxygen-poor blood back to the heart. The pressure from blood pooling in the legs and feet can cause pain and swelling. Blood clots within deep veins (deep vein thrombosis) leading to the vena cava, the body’s largest vein, can cause swelling, pain or break free and lodge in the lung, creating a medical emergency known as a pulmonary embolism. UMMC vascular surgeons can determine the best course of treatment, including minimally invasive procedures or surgery if needed to dissolve or remove the clot.
Every year, about 250,000 people in the United States are hospitalized for a DVT, in which a blood clot forms in a leg vein, according to the American Heart Association. It typically occurs in people who are confined to bed after trauma, surgery or other medical problems, such as cancer. Some people also develop DVT on long plane flights.
About half the time, deep vein thrombosis has no symptoms, according to the American Heart Association. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Swelling in the leg.
- Red, discolored or white skin.
- A cord in a leg vein that can be felt.
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).
- Slight fever.
- Warm skin.
- More visible surface veins.
- Dull ache, tightness, tenderness or pain in the leg (these symptoms may only occur while walking or standing).
Keep in mind that the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Check with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.