Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

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Learn what blood clots are, how they form, how they are treated, and complications that can occur because of them.

Key points

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is caused by a blood clot that occurs in the deep venous system.
  • DVTs are rare in healthy children, but may occur more commonly in children that are hospitalized. Children at higher risk include those with central lines, have a family history of increased clotting, or have certain anatomic variants that affect their veins.
  • Signs and symptoms of DVT include swelling, pain, and changes in skin colour of the affected limb.
  • Diagnosis of DVT is usually confirmed with an imaging test such as an ultrasound.
  • Treatment for DVT includes waiting and watching to see what happens, medication, thrombolysis, or surgery.
  • Rarely, DVT can cause a pulmonary embolism or a stroke. The most common chronic complication of DVT is known as post-thrombotic syndrome.
Last updated: September 25th 2017