A clot that is over one to two months old is called "chronic." The clot becomes harder and scars the vein. As a result of this process, the vein becomes much smaller and does not allow blood to flow through effectively.
Symptoms of chronic DVT
Patients with chronic DVT experience leg swelling, pain, and often skin discoloration of the leg below the knee. These patients are typically prescribed compression stockings in order to help with these symptoms. These symptoms are related to the vein being blocked and not allowing blood flow out of the leg.
Treating chronic DVT
At Stanford we have a variety of new techniques to re-open veins that have been blocked for years. We have opened up veins that have been blocked for 25 years, with significant improvement in the patients' symptoms.
We usually place metal stents into these blocked veins to keep the veins open. The stents are similar to those put in the heart, except the stents we use in veins are much larger. Placing the stents usually does not require more than a band-aid where we entered the vein. This typically requires a short hospital stay.
Of particular interest to our faculty are blood clots that occurred while on oral contraceptives, also known as birth control pills or while pregnant. We have developed an effective method to treat these women, and get them back to their active lifestyle.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
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