Surgery and DVT
Did you know that almost all hospitalized patients have at least one risk
factor for DVT and PE and approximately 40 percent of patients have three or more
If you are in the hospital or immobile for an extended period of time due to injury
or illness, you may be more likely to develop DVT; patients who have undergone hip
or knee replacement are particularly vulnerable. There are two main reasons that
surgery increases your risk for DVT:
- Your blood vessels may be damaged during surgery
- Blood flow is especially sluggish in people restricted to bed rest
The risk of developing DVT is nearly eight times higher among hospitalized patients;
therefore, knowing whether you have other risk factors can go a long way in helping
to reduce risk.
To ensure that all patients are aware of their risk and receive the appropriate
treatment throughout recovery, the Coalition is raising awareness about DVT and
encouraging movement and stretching as one way to increase blood circulation. For
more activities that focus on reducing DVT risk through movement in settings where
mobility maybe restricted – in hospitals, at the office, in assisted living and
during travel, click on the link below.
For more ways to take action to reduce your risk, visit DVT Prevention & Management.
Before and After Surgery
Working closely with your doctor, nurse or specialist to identify and track your
risks and proactively examine any symptoms you may have is critical in staying healthy.
It is important to schedule regular checkups with your healthcare team, but don’t
hesitate to make an appointment at any time if you notice something out of the ordinary.
Preparing for Your Visit
Please talk to your doctor about any mild discomfort you may experience during the
Identifying Risk Factors During your visit, your doctor
will work with you to identify any risk factors you may have and will conduct a
physical examination. If further evaluation is needed, you may need to undergo a
test that specifically looks for DVT and PE. Your doctor will also ask about your
general health; your previous illnesses, including any DVT episodes; the medicines
you are taking; and your recent activities.
Physical Examination During the physical examination,
your doctor will look for swelling and areas of soreness, tenderness or redness.
If you have noticed any of these, especially in the leg, make sure to point out
these areas to your doctor. A physical examination is an important way for you and
your doctor to check for DVT, but it may be hard to diagnose without specific tests.
A number of other conditions — such as muscle strains, skin infections and
phlebitis — produce similar symptoms.
Use the DVT Risk Assessor to learn more about your risk factors for DVT blood clots.
And don't forget to speak with your healthcare professional to find out whether
you or a loved one could be at risk, and what you can do to minimize your risk.