ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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The primary complication to be concerned with in deep vein thrombosis is a pulmonary embolism.
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood vessel in your lung becomes blocked by a blood clot (thrombus) that travels to your lungs from another part of your body, usually your leg.
A pulmonary embolism can be fatal. So, it's important to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism and seek medical attention if they occur. Signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Unexplained sudden onset of shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
- Rapid pulse
- Coughing up blood
- A sense of anxiety or nervousness
A common complication that can occur after deep vein thrombosis is a condition known as postphlebitic syndrome, also called postthrombotic syndrome. This syndrome is used to describe a collection of signs and symptoms, including:
- Swelling of your legs (edema)
- Leg pain
- Skin discoloration
This syndrome is caused by damage to your veins from the blood clot. This damage reduces blood flow in the affected areas. The symptoms of postphlebitic syndrome may not occur until a few years after the DVT. Treatment options include medications, such as aspirin or diuretics, as well as the use of compression stockings.
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