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How blood clots form and how they’re treated

blood_clotMany people think of vein disease as a merely cosmetic concern: varicose veins and spider veins. However, one of the most important risks of vein disease is the development of deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT is a condition in which blood clots (also called thrombi) develop in the leg. 

Why should New Hyde Park, NY patients be so concerned about DVT?

DVT is of great concern because if a blood clot breaks free of its initial location in the leg, it could travel to the heart, lungs or brain and become a deadly embolism. In fact, over 300,000 people die every year in the US due to embolisms.

During a standard venous health examination at Garvey Vascular Specialists, your spider vein specialist will examine your legs and any areas of concern for you, and any symptoms you’ve been experiencing such as swelling, aching and heaviness. He will also ask you about your medical history to see if you are at risk for deep vein thrombosis. Those at risk include people who are over the age of 60 and those who have a history of vein disease. Also at risk are those who are obese or overweight, who smoke, are sedentary, and who have to spend long periods of time on their feet. This is because these lifestyle characteristics put extra stress on the circulatory system, which can lead to a weakening of the vein walls and valves. This weakening allows blood to pool in the legs, causing varicose veins, spider veins, and in some cases, deep vein thrombosis.

How is DVT treated?

There are several methods of treating DVT including venous thrombectomy, or surgical removal of the clot. This procedure takes about 2-3 hours and can be performed in our New Hyde Park, New York center on an outpatient basis, with no need to visit a hospital. However, before recommending surgery, your spider vein doctor may recommend other approaches, such as the use of oral anticoagulants, which are agents that thin the blood and may help dissolve the clot without surgery. Another approach is to place a small mesh filter in the vein where the clot is located, in order to catch the clot should it break loose, and prevent it from traveling upwards to the heart, lungs or brain.

Which treatment approach is right for you will depend on the location of your blood clot and the risks it poses, as well as your immediate health concerns. If you also have bulging vein problems, you may be able to combine treatment modalities to address both health and aesthetic concerns at the same time. Your vein specialist will provide you with detailed results of the venous health evaluation, explain all your treatment options, and will work with you to decide how to proceed.

If you have further questions about vein disease, deep vein thrombosis or venous thrombectomy, Dr. Garvey and his team at Garvey Vascular Specialists in New Hyde Park, NY will be happy to help. Please contact our office at 516.299.8160 to schedule a consultation.

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