Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) inhibits the circulation in a deep vein, such as those found in the legs, hips, and arms. The effects of DVT can range from asymptomatic to life-threatening.

Worse yet, DVT can cause long-term complications. Post-thrombotic syndrome can result in circulation problems that can lead to permanent disabilities.

Because these injuries can be severe, it’s important to understand them fully. With this in mind, here are some facts about the causes and effects of deep vein thrombosis and how you might be able to seek compensation for it through a personal injury case.

The Circulatory System

Your circulatory system pumps blood throughout your body. Your arteries carry oxygenated blood from your lungs to the rest of your body. Your veins carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart and lungs for re-oxygenation.

You will die if you lose more than 40% of the blood in your body. To prevent blood loss and promote wound healing, your blood contains cells called platelets. When cells become damaged, platelets stick to the wound to stop the bleeding and protect the wound while it heals.

The platelets trigger a chemical message that attracts other platelets and fibrin. The platelets form a plug and the fibrin holds the plug together. Together, the platelets and fibrin form a blood clot.

How DVT Happens

How DVT Happens

The purpose of a blood clot is to stop blood from flowing. When you suffer a wound, a blood clot can save your life. But when a blood clot forms in the wrong place, you can die.

A blood clot in a coronary artery can starve the heart of oxygen and cause a heart attack. An ischemic stroke happens when a blood clot lodges in a cerebral artery and starves the brain of blood.

DVT happens when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. This most commonly happens in the legs, hips, or arms.

The most common symptoms of DVT include:

  • Pain
  • Cramping
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Localized warmth

These symptoms result from the blood getting trapped behind the clot. Since a vein carries blood back to the heart, the clot causes blood headed to your heart to instead pool in your limb.

Risk Factors for DVT

Many factors can increase your chances of developing DVT, including:


Traumatic injuries from car crashes, falls, or other accidents can increase the odds of a clot. Broken bones can tear blood vessels, causing the blood to clot. And the broken ends of a bone form a large clot over the fracture to promote healing.

Bruises, swelling, or vein injuries can cause your circulation to slow. Slow-moving blood has a higher chance of clotting inside the vein.

Long Periods Without Moving

Moving increases your circulation. If you sit or lie down for long periods of time, your circulation will slow and you have an increased risk of clotting. DVT can happen on long flights or drives when you sit without moving for several hours.

DVT can also happen to people confined to bed. Like bedsore injuries, DVT can happen when hospital and nursing home staff members fail to rotate patients. Doctors can prescribe compression socks or compression devices to keep the blood from pooling.


Some prescription drugs cause blood clots. For example, hormones and contraceptives increase the risk of clotting.

Complications from DVT

DVT can have serious complications, such as:

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism can cause death. A pulmonary embolism happens when a piece of the clot in your vein breaks off and travels through the heart to the lungs.

There, the clot blocks the blood vessels carrying oxygen-deprived blood. Since the blood cannot get oxygenated, your body gets starved of oxygen. Additionally, your lungs can suffer damage from the lack of circulation.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain while coughing or inhaling
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate

About 25% of patients with a pulmonary embolism die.

As the clot blocks blood from entering your lungs, your blood pressure will increase. You may develop an irregular heartbeat. Your heart cannot keep up with your body’s needs because blood cannot reach part of your lungs. You may pass out, and unless you receive treatment, you could die.

Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

The blood clot can damage your veins. The veins include valves to prevent blood from flowing downward under the influence of gravity. A clot can damage these valves, causing blood to pool in your legs.

As many as half of all DVT patients develop post-thrombotic syndrome.

Their symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Sores near the clot site
  • Discolored skin
  • Swollen or varicose veins

Post-thrombotic syndrome also increases the risk of another DVT.

Prevention of DVT

You can prevent DVT with a few measures, such as:


If you can, move around every hour or so. This keeps your blood circulating so that it does not clot. If you cannot walk around, move your feet, toes, and legs.

Leg Compression

If you have limited mobility, it may be a good idea to wear compression stockings. If you are confined to a bed in the hospital or nursing home, find out whether you can wear an intermittent pneumatic compression device. This device uses air bladders to periodically squeeze the blood out of your legs.


If you have limited mobility, you can have someone move and elevate your legs periodically. This prevents blood from pooling in your legs.

Compensation for DVT

DVT is not a traumatic injury. But it can result from a traumatic injury. In other words, a pedestrian accident will not cause DVT. But you can develop DVT after a pedestrian accident breaks your leg and you get confined to bed.

Even though DVT does not directly result from trauma, you still may be able to recover compensation for it. If someone else caused your injuries, they could be held liable for all of the foreseeable consequences of their actions.

DVT is a foreseeable consequence of a serious accident. Even if the person who caused the accident did not foresee you having DVT, a reasonable person understands that causing an accident can lead to painful and life-threatening injuries. As a result, you could seek compensation for those injuries.

DVT can have serious consequences. While it does not necessarily result immediately from a traumatic accident, it can develop as a secondary injury while you recover from your injuries. 

To discuss your accident and the compensation you can seek for deep vein thrombosis, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer near you.