March Is DVT Awareness Month-Remain Vigilant for DVT

Last week I told you that DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) can present itself with minimal symptoms. This week I would like to tell you a story that really happened and how easily it is to convince yourself that a DVT is simply something that will go away.

This story is about a female. She is in her 40’s, apparently healthy with no chronic health conditions, and very active. She got up one morning and went to make coffee. All of a sudden she felt as though she had been hit by a truck. She felt light headed and had waves of nausea. She thought she had food poisoning or sudden onset of flu. Her right calf was painful and swollen.

By afternoon she was obviously limping, overwhelmingly fatigued, and sweating (she thought she possibly had a fever from the flu). She passed out on the couch telling her son she just need to rest and would go the doctor the next day if she was not better. Then she passed out in the bathroom, but was sure it was a really bad flu bug. By the end of the day she was able to eat a bowl of soup and keep it down. She was certain she was now on the mend.

The next morning she was still tired; she thought it was just post flu. Her real problem was now her calf. It was now warm, swollen, and painful. She thought she had pulled a muscle while walking the dog. The pain in her calf kept her up that night.

On the third morning, when she flexed her foot it caused pain. She got on WebMD and self-diagnosed herself as having an inflammation of the calf muscle. She decided to go to the urgent care center and told her husband to go on and do what he needed to do. After accessing her health status, the physician at the urgent care center did an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. To his (and her) surprise there was a blood clot in the calf.

DVT formation

Now she remembered pulling that calf muscle about 6 months earlier, but assumed it was from turning or twisting on ice while running or walking the dog. The “pulled muscle” had seemed to resolve in a couple of weeks. The physician thought that was probably when the blood clot formed and labeled the blood clot as idiopathic because her only risk factor was a longstanding prescription for low-dose birth control pills. Because she was stable, she was sent home on Coumadin and Heparin.

The internist she saw a few days later thought the “flu like symptoms” she experienced were warning signs of a pulmonary embolism (PE). She had probably thrown a clot from the calf when she got up that first morning.

She will now be wearing her support stockings for at least one year, remain super-vigilant for DVT, and will never allow any type of hormone therapy. All of our support stockings and support socks are specially priced off of the manufacturers suggest retail price.
This lady was very fortunate. She had passed out twice oblivious of what was going on. She could have easily died from the PE. Know the symptoms of DVT and PE.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT

  • Pain in the leg or pelvis region
  • Tenderness and swelling of the leg
  • Discoloration of the leg (reddish)
  • Areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch
  • Whole leg swelling

Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain-sharp, stabbing: may get worse with deep breath
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

Similar scenarios have happened to athletes when they have experienced injuries. It could happen to anyone! If you suspect a DVT see your physician. If you suspect a PE get medical attention immediately!


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