Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
& Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
Deep Vein Thrombosis: Signs and Symptoms
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the deep veins of your body, usually in your legs, but sometimes in your arm. The signs and symptoms of a DVT include:
- Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm)
- Leg pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or Charley horse
- Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
- Leg (or arm) warm to touch
These symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a “Charlie horse,” but may differ in that the leg (or arm) may be swollen, slightly discolored, and warm.
Contact your doctor if you have these symptoms, because you may need treatment right away.
Pulmonary Embolism: Signs and Symptoms
Clots can break off from a DVT and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal. The signs and symptoms of a PE include:
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Chest pain-sharp, stabbing; may get worse with deep breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus
Call an ambulance or 911 immediately for treatment in the ER if you experience these PE symptoms.
350,000—600,000 people in the United States develop blood clots every year. About 100,000 people in the U.S. die each year from blood clots, which means that about 1 of 3 may die.
Reference: The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism, US Dept of Health and Human Services, 2008.