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eMed previously Babylon Health

Deep vein thrombosis

Written by Dr Claudia Pastides, 3rd April 2019

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg, usually in the calf or thigh.


DVTs can happen for no apparent reason, but certain risk factors increase the chances of a clot forming in the leg.

Risk factors

  • Age over 75 years old
  • Immobility
  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Major surgery such as orthopedic surgery
  • Some medications such as oral contraceptives or oestrogen containing medicines
  • Having a history of stroke
  • Having a history of DVT
  • History of (or ongoing) cancer diagnosis

Typical Symptoms

  • Swelling of the affected limb
  • Pain and/or tenderness of the affected limb
  • Bulging veins in the affected limb
  • Skin colour change in the affected limb

Common Treatment

  • Blood thinning or clot dissolving medication
  • Specialist treatment or surgery

When to speak to a doctor

It is important to speak to a doctor urgently if you believe you might have a DVT. To speak to one of our GPs, download the app and create an account today.

You should call 999 if you have:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Pale blue skin


Deep vein thrombosis can be managed and prevented by:

  • Blood thinning medications
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Avoiding long periods of time without moving
  • Keeping active with a regular exercise routine
  • Getting up and walking after prolonged periods of sitting, such as on a flight

More information


The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.