Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) refers to the development of blood clots in the deep leg veins, which is where most venous (of the vein) clots occur. Pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when clots break off from vein walls and travel through the heart to the pulmonary arteries. An estimated 250,000 to 2 million cases of DVT and/or PE are diagnosed in the United States each year, and PE accounts for up to 18,000 deaths each year. These deaths, however, are largely preventable.
Cardiovascular specialists from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Division of Vascular Surgeryoffer collaborative and comprehensive clinical services to adults with DVT or PE. Part of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Heart & Vascular Center, their services include a broad range of innovative diagnostics and leading-edge medical, interventional and surgical therapies such as magnetic resonance venography (MRV), pulmonary angiography, inferior vena cava (IVC) filter implantation, and thrombectomy. Our physicians also focus on educating patients about what they can do to help prevent DVT and PE.
Risk factors for developing deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism may include one or more of the following:
Deep vein thrombosis occurs without any symptoms in about 50 percent of cases. When they do occur, they may include one or more of the following:
Common symptoms of pulmonary embolism include:
Symptoms of DVT or PE may resemble other medical conditions and problems. Always consult a doctor for a diagnosis.
Our deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism specialists provide expert evaluation and diagnosis with the aid of the latest in advanced imaging technologies. In order to diagnose and determine treatment for DVT, a complete medical history, a thorough physical exam, and one or more of the following specialized diagnostic tests will be provided.
Our cardiovascular specialists develop individualized treatment plans for patients based on:
DVT and PE can be treated with medications or removed via a minimally-invasive catheter procedure or surgery, including:
Procedures and Surgery
The Heart & Vascular Center is located in the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, across the street from BWH’s main 75 Francis Street entrance. The Heart & Vascular Center brings together the full range of services in one location, fostering seamless and coordinated care for all cardiovascular patients.
If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Watkins Clinic for pre-operative information and tests.
The day of surgery, you care will be provided by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who specialize in surgery for patients with DVT or a pulmonary embolism. After surgery, you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.
During your surgery, family and friends can wait in the Shapiro Family Center. Staff members will provide surgery updates and caregivers who leave the hospital will be contacted by cell phone.
Patients benefit from the teamwork of medical cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, vascular and endovascular surgeons, cardiovascular imaging experts and radiologists, and anesthesiologists, all experts in DVT and PE. They work alongside nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, dietitians and social workers to achieve outstanding outcomes for our patients.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center where patients and families can access computers and knowledgeable staff.
Learn more about the North American Thrombosis Forum
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