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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis: Frequently asked questions

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 13:01

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are some frequently asked questions related to deep vein thrombosis.

Q: Didn't I read somewhere that poison extracted from certain snakes was being used in thrombolytic therapy?

A: Although certain snake venoms have been studied for their blood-thinning properties, they are not useful in treating deep vein thrombosis.

Q: Can DVT lead to amputation?

A: Most cases of amputation associated with blood clots involve clots of the arteries. Such clots prevent the flow of blood to tissues beyond the blockage, causing tissue death (necrosis). Rare instances of amputation associated with deep vein thrombosis occur in individuals with "blue leg" (phlegmasia cerulea dolens), in which there is a massive venous thrombosis of the upper leg as well as an advanced malignancy (cancer) elsewhere in the body.

Q: How likely is it that a thrombosis will cause pulmonary embolism?

A: Embolus is relatively rare compared with the number of deep vein thromboses. It is a potentially fatal condition, however, which is why it is so important to see a doctor if you experience symptoms of DVT.

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