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Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

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Blood Clots in the Leg Veins - Topic Overview

Blood clots can happen in veins. A blood clot in a vein close to the skin isn't likely to cause problems. But having blood clots in deep veins is called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis happens most often in the legs. This problem can lead to a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism).

The deep veins of the leg have different terms to describe their location:

Recommended Related to DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

Taking Blood Thinners for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and Xarelto (rivaroxaban)are types of blood thinners (anticoagulants) commonly used in deep vein thrombosis treatment. Though they're called blood thinners, these DVT treatments do not actually thin your blood; rather, they can 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.

Read the Taking Blood Thinners for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) article > >

  • Upper (proximal) leg veins are those above the knee but below the waist.
    • Popliteal veins are located behind the knee.
    • Iliac and femoral veins are in the groin area.
  • Lower (distal) leg veins are those below the knee.
    • Distal leg veins are located in the calf and ankle.

A person with a blood clot in a deep upper (proximal) leg vein is at increased risk for a blood clot in the lung or other complications.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 10, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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