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DVT Diagnosis and Recovery

Deep Vein Thrombosis Program
John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital

19829 N. 27th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85027
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» Request a referral to a John C. Lincoln specialist in the signs of DVT and DVT diagnosis

Defined as the formation of a blood clot in the legs, deep vein thrombosis, or "DVT," blocks the flow of blood in the veins to the heart and lungs. DVT symptoms are almost always concentrated in the leg affected by the blood clot.

Signs of DVT include pain, tenderness, swelling and discoloration in the affected leg. Warmth and redness of the skin also rank high among the classic signs of DVT.

Here, we'll answer common questions about how our program arrives upon a DVT diagnosis. Later, we'll explain steps involved in the DVT recovery process.

DVT Diagnosis

If you're experiencing one or more of these signs of DVT, should you seek medical care? The answer is yes — and without question. Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition that requires immediate medical treatment. Physicians at John C. Lincoln's Deep Vein Thrombosis Program are specifically trained to recognize and treat the aforementioned signs of DVT.

To develop a DVT diagnosis, a specialist may request one, or more, imaging procedures. These techniques for DVT diagnosis include:

  • A "D-dimer" test: Blood clots are the result of glued-together proteins in the blood, called fibrin. Another protein, called plasmin, breaks them apart. As fibrin breaks down, higher levels of "D-dimer" (a form of disintegrated fibrin) are found in the blood. D-dimer can be detected using a blood sample from the arm.
  • CT Scan: Computed tomography (CT) scans are three-dimensional images of soft tissue, organs and bones. In a diagnostic CT venography, a contrasting dye is injected to show blockages in veins.
  • Ultrasound: High-frequency waves measure the speed of blood flow, as well as explore the structure of veins and blood clots.
  • MRI:Magnetic resonance imaging combines strong magnets and radio waves to form a detailed image of structures within the body.

Treatment at John C. Lincoln

John C. Lincoln's Deep Vein Thrombosis Program advocates mechanical thrombectomy as a DVT treatment for deep vein thrombosis.

Mechanical thrombectomy treatment is a nonsurgical procedure that usually can be performed on an outpatient basis. Compared with traditional DVT therapy, hospitalization is reduced, and the DVT recovery period is much shorter. Exposure to blood thinning drugs is also lower so there is reduced risk of internal bleeding and decreased long term vein damage.

DVT Recovery and Follow-Up Visits

After treatment, patients undergo the DVT recovery process at home. They typically find pain disappears overnight. Usually, swelling is almost gone within 7 to 10 days.

As a complement to this DVT treatment, blood-thinning medications are typically prescribed for the first three months following treatment, to protect against further clotting.

The DVT recovery period has specific guideposts. Each patient is asked to follow up with the Deep Vein Thrombosis Program at one week, one month and 90 days following the procedure. This helps to ensure there are no rare post-surgical complications. At six months, we will perform an ultrasound to be sure that no new clots have formed.