Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a condition where blood clots form in one of the deeper veins of the body, such as in the arms or legs. Symptoms may feel similar to that of a Charlie horse or a pulled muscle. If you notice any of the following, get medical help as soon as you can:
- Bluish or reddish discoloration of the skin
- Leg tenderness or pain
- Swelling in a leg or an arm
- Your arm or leg feels unusually warm to the touch
A pulmonary embolism can occur when a clot breaks off from a DVT and enters the lungs. Immediate medical help will be needed in this instance, because a PE can lead to death. Symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sharp, stabbing chest pains that get worse when you take a deep breath
- Unexplained coughing that is sometimes accompanied by bloody mucus
IVC Filters, DVTs and PEs
One method doctors use to keep a piece of a DVT from causing a PE is implanting an IVC filter, which is a spider-shaped metal device placed into the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body.
However, many patients who received IVC filters suffered severe health complications after the device malfunctioned. Pieces of the filters can break off, sending tiny metal pieces into major organs such as the liver or heart. This has been fatal in some instances; in other instances, doctors choose not to try and remove a piece because surgery would be too dangerous.