Blood Clots

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein, deep in the body, that may partially or completely block the flow of blood through the vein. Most deep vein blood clots form in the lower leg or thigh, but can also form in the pelvis and other parts of the body.

Symptoms of DVT

Notify your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Soreness or pain in your arm or leg
  • New swelling and/or redness in your arm or leg
  • Tenderness along a vein path
  • Leg feels warmer than the other leg

Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Pulmonary Embolism (PE) is when a blood clot breaks free and travels to the lungs. It can block blood flow and can be life-threatening.

Call 911 or an ambulance immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sharp or stabbing pain in your side, back or chest that may worsen with deep breaths
  • Fast heart beat
  • Fast breathing
  • Sudden, unexplained cough (may have bloody mucus)

Prevention of DVT/PE

Before surgery

Your doctor will assess your risk of DVT and order a treatment plan that may include:

  • Prescribed medications before or after surgery, or when you go home, to prevent blood clots.
  • Stopping certain medications before surgery.

In the hospital:

  • You may wear elastic stockings or inflatable boots to squeeze the leg muscles.
  • The nursing staff will assist you to walk around soon after your surgery.

After you go home:

  • Do not sit or lie in bed for long periods of time during the day.
  • Continue walking around your home and changing positions frequently.
  • If you are on bed rest, exercise your legs every hour and change positions at least every 2 hours.
  • Stretch your legs with “heel to toe” movements and move feet in circles.