The University of Chicago Medicine’s Comprehensive Thrombosis and Embolism Program diagnoses and treats venous thromboembolism (VTE) (the combination of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) and related blood clot conditions. Our team will perform a thorough medical evaluation to determine the location and severity of your thrombus so that we can provide the safest and most effective treatment. Though VTE can occur in anyone, it may also be associated with the existing conditions, inlcuding:
- Venous Insufficiency: Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when valves in a patient’s leg veins don't function properly, allowing blood to flow in both directions, not just toward the heart. As a result, blood can pool in the legs, leading to the development of varicose veins, pain, swelling, and venous ulcers if left untreated.
- May-Thurner Syndrome: May-Thurner syndrome (MTS) is caused when the left iliac vein is compressed by the right iliac artery, and can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis in the left leg. If you have MTS, your left leg may feel tender and warm to the touch with red discoloration at the sight of the clot.
- Paget-Schroetter Disease: Paget-Schroetter disease happens when you have deep vein thrombosis in the shoulder or arm. You may have compressed blood vessels in the lower neck/upper chest, causing pain, numbness and impaired circulation to areas in the upper extremities.
- Nutcracker Syndrome: Renal nutcracker syndrome is a rare condition that results in compression of the left kidney vein, blocking blood flow out of the kidney. While signs and symptoms vary from patient to patient, compressing the renal vein can cause pain in the abdomen and blood in your urine.
- Pelvic Venous Congestion: This is a chronic condition that causes women to suffer debilitating pain in their pelvis. With pelvic venous congestion, blood starts to pool in the pelvic veins, causing them to dilate and enlarge, similar to varicose veins in the legs. Typically, a patient will experience pain on one side, and the pain can worsen when standing, walking or during sex.
For untreated venous thromboembolism, you may experience:
- Post-Thrombotic Syndrome: Patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are at risk for chronic post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS), with nearly one-third of patients developing PTS. With PTS, you may have limited circulation to your leg(s), notice swelling in the leg(s), develop bruising or blood pooling beneath the skin, ulcers and/or skin infections.
- Inferior Vena Cava Occlusion: The inferior vena cava (IVC) is a large vessel that carries blood from the lower half of the body to the heart. Inferior vena cava occlusion occurs when a thrombus develops in the IVC, and can lead to complete obstruction of this large blood vessel. IVC occlusion is underdiagnosed, and may lead to painful swelling of the legs or pulmonary embolism.
- Chronic Thrombembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH): This condition is due to scarring and chronic blockages of blood vessels in the lungs, typically because of untreated or multiple pulmonary emboli. CTEPH can cause significant shortness of breath, congestive heart failure, and ultimately, death if not identified and treated early.
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