A DVT, or Deep vein thrombosis, is a blood clot in the deep veins of the lower limb. Those who undergo surgery have an increased risk of developing a blood clot, but if you were to undergo surgery as a patient Podiatry Plus, are you at risk for a blood clot?
The incidence in foot and ankle surgery is reported between 0.22% and 3.5%. This is significantly less risky than the 30-65% of patients that undergo total hip replacement and 60-84% of patients that have a total knee replacement. So, although not unheard of, the chance of a DVT after foot surgery is minimal.
Patients who undergo surgery are not the only ones to get a DVT. A multitude of factors can predispose a person to a DVT, including obesity, age >40 years, immobilization or non weight-bearing status for greater than a week, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, smoking, and trauma.
If you have a sudden onset of lower extremity swelling of unknown origin, on one side only, Other symptoms include: calf pain/tenderness, erythema, edema, warmth and superficial venous engorgement.
Where should I go?
If you have the above symptoms, you should immediately be seen at the emergency room for a venous duplex ultrasound to rule out a DVT. The risk of having the clot become dislodged and move to the lungs is real and the consequence could be death. Only 20-50% of untreated DVT progress to pulmonary embolus (or blot clot that travels in the blood (embolus) and lodges in the lungs). Additional symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath, couging up blood and pain on inspiration (breathing in).