Deep Vein Thrombosis

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that usually occurs in a deep, larger vein of the lower leg or arm. If a clot travels to your lungs (called a pulmonary embolism), it can lead to serious and even life-threatening problems. Symptoms of a DVT are swelling, redness, or pain in one leg or arm. Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are chest pain, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. A DVT can lead to long-term problems, such as vein damage that causes the leg to swell, ache, and change color.

DVTs tend to happen when a person is inactive or sitting for an extended period, such as on a long flight or car trip. Surgery increases the risk of a developing a DVT, as does smoking, obesity, and being age 40 or older. Those with cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure also are at higher risk, along with people who have a personal or family history of a blood clot. Taking hormones or oral contraceptives increases the risk of a DVT, as well.


UAB Medicine’s vascular specialists provide expert treatment of all types of circulatory conditions using a broad range of services, including medical therapy, minimally invasive endovascular procedures, and open surgical reconstruction. Our specialty-trained surgeons and physicians are leaders in their field and have excellent track records in treating some of the most complex vascular diseases and conditions. That expertise is backed by the latest and most advanced technology, facilities, and treatment options, as well as our dedication to patient-centered care. A wide range of specialists work together through the UAB Advanced Limb Preservation program to prevent the need for amputation, preserve maximum function in the lower limbs in people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), and treat associated medical conditions such as diabetes.

Our vascular experts confer extensively with each patient to determine a specific diagnosis and treatment plan based on medical history, physical exam, and a variety of non-invasive testing that includes ultrasound, Doppler with plethysmography, CT scans, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). We also employ three-dimensional overlay fusion technology, in which pre-operative imaging is overlaid with images captured during surgery, providing greater accuracy and improved outcomes. In addition, we maintain an operating room designed specifically for vascular therapies, where we perform “hybrid” procedures that combine both open surgery and minimally invasive endovascular techniques and maximize the benefits of both.

As a major academic medical center, UAB maintains an active research program that also manages clinical trials. Our commitment to innovation and discovery often means that patients have access to advanced new treatments long before they are available to the general public.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for deep vein thrombosis. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials