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What are the risks of untreated DVT?

This question was asked in Cedarville, Ohio and has 5 answer(s) as of 06/05/2013.
My mother has DVT and I was wondering if it's genetic. I do not have any of the symptoms she had when she was first diagnosed, but could I have it and just not know? What kind of risks are there with untreated DVT?


Doctors Answers (5)

The risks of untreated DVT can be serious to your health. Among the most serious, are Pulmonary Embolism which can kill a person if the size of the clot that breaks away and travels to your lung is large enough. The affected leg, can develop long-term Chronic Venous Insufficiency. If you do not have any symptoms, (i.e. swelling and pain) in either leg, then it's unlikely that you have an asymptomatic DVT. If you continue to be concerned, discuss it with your family doctor.

The major risk of DVT is its migration into the lungs where it can cause obstruction to the blood flow to the lungs (a term called Pulmonary Embolus). The mainstay diagnostic test for DVT is a vascular ultrasound.

The risk can be assessed only with knowing your health history and blood work. Your physician can manage that easily.

There are some individuals who have one of several rare clotting disorders that make the risk of developing a Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) higher, and they usually have several episodes involving a clot or DVT (which often occurs in the posterior leg and thigh region and seen as a single leg swelling, and maybe painless). It would be helpful to know if your mother was evaluated for a clotting disorder (with blood testing) in answering your individual risk of inheritance. Even if your mother has a clotting disorder does not mean you have inherited it. Most DVT's are the result of traumas, such as large orthopedic surgeries including hip or knee replacement or a leg injury, and can be due to hormonal changes in pregnancy or with cancers, and can even happen spontaneously on rare occasions with no known cause or risk factor. If you are at least 35 years old, do not smoke, and have never had a DVT before, then the chances of developing a spontaneous DVT are quite small.

Blood clotting disorders can be genetic. You should be evaluated by your physician. Your mother should have a diagnosis with a probable cause of her DVT. This would be very helpful information.

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