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May 21

Summer travel plans? Beware of Deep Vein Thrombosis

A thrombus is a blood clot that forms inside a vessel. The most common sites are the veins of the arms and legs. Anything that restricts exercise and good circulation increases the risk of these clots. Recent hip or knee surgery, smoking, pregnancy and prolonged bed rest are risk factors. Travelers are susceptible, due to the pressure of seats on legs, and inactivity for hours at a time. The three components of “Virchows Triad” is stasis (limited or no movement of the limbs of the body), trauma (including surgery) and hypercoagulability (thickened blood, usually revealed with genetic blood testing by a hematologist). It is named after the eminent German physician Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902). Hypercoagulable states can be defined as a group of inherited or acquired conditions associated with a predisposition to venous thrombosis (including upper and lower extremity deep venous thrombosis with or without pulmonary embolism, cerebral venous thrombosis, and intra-abdominal venous thrombosis), arterial thrombosis (including myocardial infarction, stroke, acute limb ischemia, and splanchnic ischemia), or both. Venous thromboembolic disease is the most common clinical manifestation resulting from hypercoagulable states.


Signs and Symptoms: Sudden onset of pain or swelling in the calf muscle is typical. Severe cases can cause gangrene. If a piece of the clot breaks off, it can travel upstream, causing more dangerous clots elsewhere.

What to do: Seek help immediately. Ultrasound usually confirms the diagnosis. Medication, often referred to as “blood thinners,” inhibits further clot expansion and limits complications. Hospitalization was once required, but new injectable medications such as Lovenox make outpatient treatment possible. Travelers should stand up frequently and exercise their legs. Pre-flight aspirin and support stockings may be useful.

Smart Health Screening

Ultrasound Laboratories, Inc. dba SmartHealth Screening & SonoTech Imaging. We provide abdominal, cardiac and vascular ultrasound imaging services to physicians offices and patients homes. We accept most insurances including Medicare and Medi-Cal. 1-408-829-6486. Office with Saturday appointments at 305 South Drive, suite 7, Mountain View, CA