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