What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE)?
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is blood clot that usually occurs in the leg, most often on one side, although it can happen in other parts of the body. Part of the clot can break off and travel to the lung and cause a pulmonary embolism or PE, which can be fatal in about 1 out of every 3 instances. DVT or PE occurs in over 350,000 people per year in the United States. Click here to view a short animation showing the formation of a DVT.
National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) created a Stoplight Tool on clotting risk to give an estimate of the degree of risk associated with DVT and PE.
Click here to view the blood clot risk tool.
NBCA produced a video series from a Stop The Clot® Forum on DVT risk, prevention, and treatment in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Click here to see the “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Blood Clots” video series. When you learn signs and symptoms of DVT and PE, it can save your life.
Practical Steps to Minimize Risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Keep your body weight close to what is normal for your height
- Stay active and get regular exercise.
- Avoid prolonged periods of immobility. Stop and walk around every few
hours whenever you take a long trip. Walk the aisles, do leg raises and
heel toe squeezes and avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water to avoid
dehydration whenever you fly, especially when the trip is longer than 4
hours. Wearing compression stockings with a moderate level of
compression (15 to 20 mm Hg) may prevent DVT from developing during long
- Partner with your doctors to keep any chronic illness such as
diabetes or heart failure under tight control.
- Talk to your doctors about any risk of blood clots or the need for
blood thinners or compression stockings to prevent blood clots if you
are pregnant, use birth control pills, are hospitalized, or have
surgery, especially major surgery or knee or hip replacement. This is
especially important if you have an inherited blood clotting disorder