Heart and Vascular Health Video: Dr. Rabih Chaer Discusses Deep Vein Thrombosis By Heart and Vascular Institute, March 15, 2015 Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is an unfortunately common condition. It can affect over half a million individuals per year in the United States. What is DVT? What it is is blood clot forming in one of the deep veins of the lower or upper extremities. The main concern with deep vein thrombosis, if untreated, is that some of the clot can break lose and can travel to the lungs where it can be lethal at times unless promptly treated. Common Signs and Symptoms of DVT The most common sign and symptom of DVT are swelling and pain, and it typically involves the lower extremity. Some patients, if they do present with pulmonary embolization, can also present with shortness of breath if the clot has already gone to their lungs. If someone presents with those symptoms, the first line is to do an ultrasound to make the diagnosis. And if the diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis is made, then unless they have any contraindications, patient will be started on a blood thinner to prevent pulmonary embolization or the clot from becoming more extensive.