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Patient and Carer Information

DVT (deep vein thrombosis or blood clot in the legs) is a common and quite serious condition that affects millions of people around the world every year. The good news is that the condition is relatively easy to prevent, with the right medical treatment and preventative measures.

Why is DVT such a concern?

DVT is an unpleasant and painful condition, typically occurring in the calf or thigh, with potentially serious complications. If a fragment of the blood clot were to break off and become lodged in the lung (pulmonary embolism, or PE) it could be fatal. PE is the cause of more unexpected deaths in hospital patients than any other. Even a simple case of DVT could lead to long-term complications, including chronic leg injuries that may fail to heal, for as many as 50% of patients [1].

Why does DVT occur?

When you have had an operation or illness, your blood can become thicker and more sticky. This is the body’s natural response, to ensure that wounds or areas of inflammation do not bleed excessively. The downside is that this response also encourages clots to form in the deep veins of the leg. If you are less mobile, the blood circulation in your legs becomes more sluggish, which can also encourage clots to form. This is why early mobility rehabilitation is so important after an operation or illness.

Who is at risk?

Some people are more prone to DVT, e.g. people in hospital who have had surgery, those who are unable to walk around and people with a genetic tendency. But it can happen to anyone.

 If you would like to save this information for discussion with your healthcare team, download the Arjo Patient Information Leaflet here.


1. Kahn SR, Solymoss S, Lamping DL et al. “Long-term Outcomes After Deep Vein Thrombosis: Postphlebitic Syndrome and Quality of Life.” J Gen Intern Med. 2000; 15(6): 425–429.