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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Characteristics

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Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Characteristics

Deep V-neck Trombone with Characteristics
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious complication in patients with specific risk factors. Patients who fulfill any part of Virchow's triad may develop DVT, which presents as redness, swelling, warmth, tenderness and a positive Homan's sign. Often, patients can be asymptomatic.
Virchow's Triad
V-of-chows Triangle

Virchow's triad describes the interplay of three processes resulting in venous thrombosis; venous stasis, endothelial damage and hypercoagulability.

Venous Stasis
Vines Stop-sign

Venous stasis, or a decreased blood flow rate, can lead to deep vein thrombosis. Patients who are bedridden, postoperatively immobile, or those who are immobile for a relatively long period of time (plane ride), can develop a DVT.

Endothelial Damage
Inner-layer Damaged

Changes to the vessel wall, such as endothelial damage, can lead to thrombosis. Endothelial injury leads to a cascade of platelet repair, which can further incite the coagulation cascade.


Patients who are hypercoagulable, such as those with familial diseases or who are just beginning warfarin (before it works as a blood thinner), have increased risk for DVT.


Those who develop DVT can complain of tenderness at the site of thrombosis.

Homan's Sign
Homeless-man showing Homan-sign

Homan's sign is described by tenderness occurring from dorsiflexion of the effected foot.


The site of thrombosis may become warm.


Redness, or rubor, may also develop at the site of thrombosis.


Many patients display swelling at the site of pathology. Often the calf or thigh is greatly enlarged.


About half of patients who develop DVT are asymptomatic.


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