The American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians has announced clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of venous blood clots, complications from which claim more than 200,000 lives each year in the United States. A DVT (deep vein thrombosis) occurs when clots form in the legs, often causing swelling and pain. If pieces of these leg clots break off and travel to the lungs, a serious condition known as a pulmonary embolism or PE can occur. An undiagnosed and untreated PE can result in up to 25% mortality. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial.
There is strong evidence supporting the use of ultrasound for diagnosing blood clots in patients; however, the success rate is much lower for asymptomatic patients with blood clots in the calf vein. Treatment includes anticoagulation therapy (via the use of low molecular weight heparin), and compression stockings. Anticoagulation therapy typically runs for 3 to 6 months, but may last for 12 months or more for recurring clots.
Make sure your doctor fully investigates complaints of leg pain and swelling. Read the entire article here.