Venous Thromboembolism What Is Venous Thromboembolism?
Venous thromboembolism (VTE), also known as blood clots, is a disorder that includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis. A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.
The risk of developing VTE is highest after major surgery or a major injury, or when you have heart failure, cancer, or a heart attack. Swelling, redness, and pain are some of the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. A pulmonary embolism can cause sudden chest pain and shortness of breath.
Sometimes VTE occurs without any obvious signs. Medicines that help prevent further blood clots from forming or that dissolve serious vein blockages are the main treatments for VTE.
Without treatment, VTE can restrict or block blood flow and oxygen, which can damage the body’s tissue or organs. This can be especially serious in the case of a pulmonary embolism, which blocks blood flow to the lungs. If a blood clot is large or there are many clots, a pulmonary embolism can cause death.