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What’s the difference between deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins?

This question was asked in Franklinton, North Carolina and has 9 answer(s) as of 05/20/2013.
What’s the difference between deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (9)

Varicose veins are simply overly stretched out veins that are filled with too much blood. Rather than having the blood flow up the veins towards the heart, a large percentage of the blood is pooling in the lower limbs. Deep venous thromobsis (DVT) or deep vein blood clot is a very dangerous condition where the blood stops flowing in a deep vein of the lower limbs, usually in the calves. This obstruction to blood flow causes a great deal of pressure to build up behind the clot. Often times, pieces of this clot may break off (emboli) and float towards the lungs (pulmonary embolusPE); and, these can be lethal. DVT's are a complication of long standing untreated large varicose veins.

The veins of the leg consist of both the superficial veins located just below or in the skin, and the deep veins that are located in the muscles of the legs. With blood clots (thrombosis) in the leg veins, the location is very important. Superficial blood clots in varicose veins are called phlebitis which is painful and reoccurs but is not considered dangerous. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in one leg, and that may be painless. The danger is that a DVT can break loose and travel up to and through the heart and then enter the lungs where the vessels branch and get smaller, resulting in plugging of? blood flow in the lungs. Small DVT's that move to the lungs (embolize) can produce shortness of breath while larger blood clot emboli are usually fatal. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur from surgery (especially orthopedic) and traumas, with blood clotting disorders, with some cancers, and are increased in smokers and with hormone supplements including the birth control pill. It is possible for a large superficial blood clot (phlebitis) in rare cases, to extend down into a deep vein, and lead to a DVT. The treatment of a DVT is with prescription anticoagulant medication and monitoring of the clot in the legs with ultrasound exams.

Varicose veins are enlarged veins, most commonly found in the lower extremities. Most varicose veins are located in the fatty tissue beneath the skin and in the skin itself. Varicose veins my be present with no symptoms at all, but many patients will experience leg swelling, tenderness, pain, or abnormal skin changes associated with varicose veins. Deep vein thrombosis is clotting of blood within the veins in the muscles, usually of the lower extremities. Varicose veins may result in skin ulcers, infection, or superficial vein thrombosis over time. Deep vein thrombosis can be life-threatening if a large portion of the clot dislodges from within a large vein in the lower extremity and travels though the bloodstream to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

Deep vein thrombosis is a clot in the deep veins. The deep veins are inside the muscles. A varicose vein is an enlarged vein.

Deep vein thrombosis occurs in the deeper venous system and consist of an actual blood clot. Varicose veins occur in the superficial venous system and can produce a blood clot known as phlebitis.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when a blood clot forms in one of the veins in the deep vein system in the leg or the arm. The deep veins in the legs are the femoral vein, the popliteal vein, and the tibial veins. DVTs are diagnosed by a venous ultrasound, and they are usually treated with a blood thinner (anticoagulation)such as Coumadin (warfarin), Lovinox, Xarelto, or other medications. If a DVT obstructs the blood flow out of the leg, a chronic, debilitating problem can develop called Post Thrombotic Syndrome. DVTs are dangerous because in a small percentage of patients, the blood clot can break off and travel in the blood stream (embolize) and lodge in the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolus (PE). A large pulmonary embolus can be fatal. A varicose vein is a superficial vein (not a deep vein) that bulges and is visible under the skin. When a blood clot forms in a varicose vein, it is called a superficial vein thrombosis (SVT). This can cause pain, tenderness, and redness for several weeks. Most SVTs are not dangerous and usually do not need anticoagulation therapy. Occasionally, an SVT can lead to the development of a DVT, in which case anticoagulation therapy is indicated.

Deep Vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a deep vein. These can be dangerous particularly if acute and should be treated with blood thinners. It is important to identify the cause of the DVT. It may be related to underlying vein disease, a long car ride or plane ride, recent surgery or immobility, or an underlying clotting disorder or malignancy. Varicose veins are dilated veins that occur from backwards blood flow in a deeper vein. Varicose veins can be symptomatic and cause symptoms such as leg aching, swelling, fatigue, and heaviness. There are different treatment options for varicose veins depending on their size and cause. This can be thoroughly evaluated with ultrasound.

There are 2 vein systems in the legs: a deep and a superficial one. Deep vein thrombosis is a potentially dangerous condition and needs to be addressed immediately. Varicose vein disease is a superficial condition which is not life-threatening and can be addressed on an outpatient basis

Deep Vein Thrombosis is when there is a blood clot in the deep veins. Usually this occurs in the legs. These clots are dangerous and can travel to the lungs. Varicose veins are distended poorly functioning veins that can be painful. Varicose veins can develop clots, which usually hurt but typically are not dangerous.

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