Feeds

What is deep vein thrombosis?

'Economy class syndrome' uncovered

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Also in this week's column:

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Asked by David White of Ramsgate, South Africa

Deep vein thrombosis (aka deep venous thrombosis) or DVT is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein of the body. It most commonly affects the leg veins but can affect the arm or pelvis veins.

DVT has become popularly known as "economy class syndrome" because of its association with the immobility and dehydration that can occur in long distance air travel.

On average, DVT occurs in about one in every 1,000 people per year. However, "[N]early one million patients are treated for deep venous thrombosis annually in the United States" according to vascular surgeons Drs K Kasirajan, R Milner, and E Chaikof of Emory University in Atlanta, writing in the June 2006 Seminars in Vascular Surgery.

Although there may frequently be no symptoms of DVT, usually symptoms that do appear include pain, swelling, redness of the leg (or arm or pelvis), and dilatation of the surface veins.

DVT can be very serious. Between one and five per cent of those with DVT die. They die not from DVT itself but from a pulmonary embolism - the most dangerous complication of DVT.

In a DVT pulmonary embolism, the blood clot in the leg (or arm or pelvis) becomes dislodged from its site and blocks (embolises) the arterial blood supply of one of the lungs. Risk factors of DVT include age, immobilisation, tobacco use, female gender, use of oral contraceptives, as well as Virchow’s triad - the three factors that affect blood clot formation (rate of blood flow, thickness of blood, and quality of the blood vessel wall).

DVT occurs far more often in older people. It occurs in only about one in 100,000 of those under age 18. This is because children are relatively more active, have better quality veins, and even have a higher rate of heartbeats per minute. As the population ages, more DVT would be expected to be seen, and is.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.