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Can deep vein thrombosis (DVT) make my legs swell?

ANSWER

If you have deep vein thrombosis (DVT), it means there's a blood clot in a vein in your leg. It could break off and travel to your lung. When that happens it's called a pulmonary embolism, and it can be life-threatening.

If you have thrombophlebitis, clots form closer to the surface of the skin and aren't likely to break off.

SOURCES:

Alicia Groft, MD, associate professor of medicine, Dartmouth Medical School.

CDC: "National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet."

Ely, J.W. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, March-April 2006.

March of Dimes: "Swelling."

Mayo Clinic: “Leg Swelling.”

National Blood Clot Alliance: "Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots." 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?"

National Institutes of Health: "Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency."

Nationwide Children's Hospital: "Swelling: The Body's Reaction to Injury."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on July 15, 2020

SOURCES:

Alicia Groft, MD, associate professor of medicine, Dartmouth Medical School.

CDC: "National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet."

Ely, J.W. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, March-April 2006.

March of Dimes: "Swelling."

Mayo Clinic: “Leg Swelling.”

National Blood Clot Alliance: "Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots." 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?"

National Institutes of Health: "Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency."

Nationwide Children's Hospital: "Swelling: The Body's Reaction to Injury."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on July 15, 2020

NEXT QUESTION:

Are puffy legs a symptom of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

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