The incidence of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot formed in the deep vein, is increasing among the young and women due to lifestyle changes and the condition, if neglected, could lead to life-threatening complications, experts cautioned.
“We are seeing DVT in more and more young patients unlike in the past when it used to be in the elderly,” said Dr. Devender Singh, senior vascular and endovascular surgeon, at Yashoda Hospitals, here. The numbers were definitely on the rise, said Dr. Manoj Agarwal, cardiologist and endovascular specialist at Apollo Hospitals. If neglected, DVT could lead to pulmonary embolism (PE), with the clot moving to the lungs and causing sudden death at times.
They said that if DVT was not treated early, the problem could adversely affect the quality of life as the patient would develop varicose veins, skin pigmentation and multiple ulcers on the legs.
While sedentary lifestyle, sitting in a particular posture for long hours and long-duration travel were among some of the factors causing the problem in young patients, hormonal replacement therapy and use of contraceptive pills were contributing to the condition in women, they said.
Dehydration was another important reason for DVT among the young.
“We sometimes see DVT in school boys and girls due to dehydration,” said Dr.Singh.
The risk factors include obesity, family history, previous personal history of blood clots, chronic disease, particularly lung or heart disease and diabetes, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptive pill, factors that increase the blood’s tendency to clot, recent injury or surgery, especially in the legs, pregnancy, prolonged bed rest, recent or ongoing cancer treatment, sitting for long time during travel, smoking and old age.
Variance in symptoms
Dr. Singh said the symptoms vary depending on the seriousness of the condition. In about 50 per cent of people, DVT does not show any signs or symptoms. It often remains undetected clinically unless PE develops.
He said PE could become extremely serious and episodes of breathlessness, severe chest pain, unexplained sweating, dizzy spells or palpitations might suggest PE if the person has DVT. Both the experts said that around 30 per cent of sudden death cases in hospital settings could be attributed to PE.
While the incidence of DVT was reported to be one per cent in those above 40 years, it could be around 15-20 per cent in hospital patients and 50 per cent in those undergoing orthopaedic surgery, particularly in the hip or knee.
Latest treatment by endovascular means, including putting a catheter in affected vein and releasing the medication to dissolve the clot would significantly reduce the problem and avoid long term morbidity and mortality.