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Deep-vein thrombosis and your surgery

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2018 | Surgical Errors

One known risk factor following surgery is the potential for deep-vein thrombosis, also known as DVT. Deep-vein thrombosis is a medical phrase that essentially means there is a potential for blood clots after surgery. Medical providers have techniques they can use to prevent these from occurring and should monitor patients for clots.

DVT is a normal complication for patients who go through surgery, but it’s not particularly common. Despite that, medical providers have to be aware of the risk and do what they can to prevent clots in their patients. Here’s a little more about DVT and why it occurs.

What causes DVT?

DVT is one of the common complications of surgery caused by bed rest. Since you are in bed for long periods of time when you’re recovering, it’s normal for the blood in your body to move more slowly in the deeper veins. When the blood moves too slowly, there is a higher risk of blood clots. These clots most often occur in the legs.

What happens if you develop a clot?

For some people, they resolve on their own. For others, the clot breaks free and travels throughout the body. If it impacts the lungs, it can block blood flow. This is then called a pulmonary embolism, which is sometimes life-threatening. Medical providers must diagnose, identify and treat this condition as quickly as possible. A missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis could lead to injury or death.

When do patients develop DVT?

DVT is most common shortly after surgery, usually between two and 10 days later. However, there is actually a higher risk of clots for around three months following your surgery.

Prevention is the key to success with DVT. Medical providers may prescribe you blood thinners following surgery such as anticoagulants. Take these as recommended, because they make it harder for your blood to clot. If you are in the hospital for a long period of time, the medical provider may use special leg pumps to prevent DVT. These pumps help push blood from the legs to the rest of the body by compressing the legs regularly.

How do you know if your case of DVT is due to malpractice?

The most obvious reason for a malpractice case wouldn’t be the DVT itself but the failure of your medical provider to recognize it. This is a common condition, so your doctor and nurses should recognize symptoms like popping veins, discolored skin, coughing up blood, chest pain and shortness of breath. They should know your risk factors and give you information about the risk of DVT following surgery.