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Preventing Blood Clots

A deep vein thrombosis (throm-BO-sis) is a blood clot in one of the deep veins. This often occurs in the leg.When you have a DVT, blood does not move as freely through your veins. It can happen for many reasons:

  • Surgery
  • Unable to walk
  • Hip or leg fractures
  • Disease processes
  • Injury
  • Varicose veins
  • Some cancers
  • Smoking

Blood clots can break off and block other veins and arteries in your lungs, heart or brain. These blockages can cause severe damage and even death.

To prevent DVT

While you are in the hospital:

  • Move your feet and legs often to keep blood from pooling in your legs.
  • Walk
    • Walking causes you muscles to squeeze around your veins. This helps the blood flow back to your heart.
  • Sequential Compression Device – SCD (see- KWENT-shul kuhm-PRESH-uhn dee-VAHYS)
    • Plastic wraps that go around your calves and sometimes your thighs.
    • Will squeeze your legs every few seconds.
    • Acts like walking by squeezing the blood in your veins back to your heart.
  • TED Hose
    • Tight stockings.
    • Supports your muscles to help push the blood in your veins back to your heart.

At home

  • Do not sit for long periods of time. Get up and walk around often. Do not cross your legs or ankles when you sit.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise within your limits.
  • If you smoke, stop. Ask for help to quit.We offer good programs with great results.
  • Wear your stockings if your doctor or nurse prescribed them.
  • Elevate your legs when sitting or lying down. This helps blood return to the heart.
  • When traveling, move legs, ankles, and feet often. Go for short walks as often as you can. Sitting for long periods of time allows blood to pool in your legs.

Contact information

If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor right away:

  • Swelling of the thigh, calf, ankle, or foot.
  • Increased warmth of the leg.
  • Pain in the leg.
  • Change in skin color that is red or bluish on the leg or toes.

Daytime (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.):

    Call one of these numbers. Ask for the department where you receive care.
    (608) 782-7300 or (800) 362-9567

After Hours (5 p.m. - 8 a.m. and weekends):

    Telephone Nurse Advisor
    (608) 775-4454 or (800) 858-1050

Daytime (8 a.m. - 5 p.m.):

After Hours (5 p.m. - 8 a.m. and weekends):

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