CIC Blog

DEEP VENOUS THROMBOSIS AND COVID-19

It is very important to know and do something about prevention deep venous thrombosis with the extension of the lockdown.

A. What is Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)?
This is the clumping of blood cells in the deep-seated veins called clots. Doctors call this deep venous thrombosis. The clots commonly occur in the lower legs, thighs or pelvis.
B. How is Covid-19 linked with blood clots?
a. Covid-19 as a disease, predisposes us to blood clots. These blood clots may also play a major role in COVID-19 fatalities.
b. The lockdown and working from home coupled with reduced the physical activity increases the risk for forming clots in the veins.
C. What are the other key causes of blood clots?
Aging, smoking, sitting or sleeping for long periods, pregnancy, obesity, injury to veins, surgery, medicines (e.g. long-term use of estrogen-based birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy), other diseases (e.g. cancer, heart disease, inherited blood disorders and HIV).
D. Are these clots dangerous?
Clots become dangerous when they break off and move through the veins to the other body parts, leading to major health problems, such as stroke. Some clots get stuck in the lungs and cause breathing difficulties. Many of these health conditions can be fatal.
E. What are the signs of DVT?
Some people will not have any symptoms. Others may have leg or arm swelling, warm to touch, vein enlargement, skin reddening and pain. Clots in the lungs cause shortness of breath, chest pain when breathing, coughing up of blood and rapid heart rate or sudden death.
F. How can you prevent DVT?
Yes you can! Yes we can! Yes we must!
a. Lifestyle measures
• Regular exercise. Remain physically activethroughout this Covid 19 season and beyond;
• Avoid sitting too long. Get up every 2-3 hours; walk around, flex and stretch your leg muscles;
• Stop smoking;
• Maintain ideal weight by eating right and exercising; and
• Drink plenty of water. As an adult a good guide is to drink about 6 to 10 glasses a day.
b. Use compression stockings if you have to sit or stand for long periods of time eg at work or long trips. These are special stockings that are tight at the ankles with gradual loosening towards the knee level. Your doctor can prescribe them for you.
c. Care during hospitalization and after any surgery. Discuss with your doctor about what you can do.

G. Is DVT treatable?
Treatment aims to dissolve the clot, prevent ‘breaking off’ using medicines (blood thinners), compression stockings or placement special filters in blood vessels.