Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside a muscle in your body. It usually happens in the legs, but can also develop in your arms, chest, or other areas of your body. And though DVT is common, it can be dangerous. The blood clot can block your circulation or lodge in a blood vessel in your lungs, brain, heart, or other area. The clot can cause severe organ damage and even death -- within hours.
The main cause of DVT is poor blood flow. When circulation slows, blood can pool and more easily form clots, raising your DVT risk.
Blood thinners (also called anticoagulants) are commonly used to treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the upper part of the leg. Though they're called blood thinners, these DVT treatments do not actually thin your blood. Instead, they keep existing blood clots from getting larger or prevent new ones from forming. They do this by preventing the production of certain proteins needed for blood to clot. Common blood thinners include:
Abdominal surgery that requires general anesthesia for more than 30 minutes.
These are some of the reasons why surgery can increase your DVT risk:
Tissue debris, protein, and fats may move into veins following surgery.
Vein walls can become damaged, which may also release substances that promote blood clotting.
Prolonged bed rest is common following surgery and can allow blood to pool in areas of the body.
Conditions or Treatments That Raise DVT Risk
Surgery isn't the only cause of DVT. Certain medical conditions or treatments may also increase your DVT risk. For starters, any condition that requires bed rest for more than three days increases your DVT risk. Other risk factors, in order from most common to least, include:
An injury that reduces blood flow to part of your body, such as a broken pelvis, hip or leg.