Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) or “economy class syndrome” is a term used to describe a partial or near full clot of a major blood vessel. It occurs most often as a result of prolonged immobility in a limb, leading to stasis of circulation, giving it opportunity to coagulate or clot.
The danger of a DVT is its potential to dislodge. It can then travel to the smaller pulmonary vessels close to the lungs, creating a pulmonary embolism (blockage of lung vessels). Blood is no longer able to pass through the lungs and oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange is compromised. Immediate sharp stabbing pain is felt in the chest. If emergency medical intervention is delayed, it can be potentially fatal. This can occur over a space of days, and at times, even a week.
Although the majority of DVTs occur in the leg, it has been seen clinically in the upper limbs. Nevertheless, DVT does occur more in the leg, of which 95% is in the thigh (femoral vein) while 5% in the calf (saphenous vein).
The risk factors of developing DVT include smoking, obesity (overweight), sedentary lifestyle, prolonged immobility, elderly, past history of DVT, and long surgical procedures.
Once a DVT is found, it can be treated effectively through anti-coagulant medication and physiotherapy exercises. If this fails, then surgery would be indicated.
Like most conditions, prevention is always better than treatment, and involves:
- Reducing possible risk factors
- Keeping mobile (eg: walk every thirty minutes on long flights)
- Wearing compressive stockings to assist circulation
If you have any further questions or require preventative or restorative physiotherapy for Deep Venous Thrombosis, please feel free to contact Alpha Physiotherapy and book an appointment on (07) 3279 3871.