DVT takes the life of 60,000-100,000 patients in the US alone every year. It becomes deadly when blood clots travel to the lungs and other critical organs.
A venous ultrasound is the most common method of diagnosis. It uses imaging to look into the veins and examine blood flow.
Telehealth is a new method of receiving digital healthcare. It makes the entire process faster and more accurate.
Read our guide to learn how telehealth advancements can doctors diagnose and treat DVT.
DVT and the Venous Ultrasound
A thrombus is a blood clot that forms in an artery or vein and restricts blood flow.
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious medical condition caused by a thrombus in a deep vein. It typically begins in the lower leg, thigh, pelvis, or arm. These blood clots are serious because they can cause a blockage in the lungs known as a PE or pulmonary embolism.
There are several risk factors, but it’s possible to treat and prevent this condition. An early diagnosis and an active lifestyle are the best defenses.
What Are the Risk Factors?
There are several risk factors for DVT.
Injury to a vein can be caused by fractures, muscle injuries, or surgeries.
Catheters placed in a central vein present a risk of injury.
Limited movement or paralysis slows blood flow, increasing the risk of blood clots. A sedentary lifestyle also tends to go along with obesity.
Increased estrogen puts women at risk of DVT. Their levels can rise thanks to birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or pregnancy.
Several chronic illnesses increase the risk of DVT. These include heart or lung disease, cancer, IBS, Chron’s, or ulcerative colitis.
A family history of heart problems and/or DVT increases your risk.
Your risk for DVT increases as you age.
Approximately 30% of people who had DVT are at risk for another episode.
What Are the Symptoms?
50% of people with DVT have no symptoms at all. Approximately 33-50% of patients will suffer long-term complications to the valves in the affected vein. This condition is called post-thrombotic syndrome or PTS.
Look out for symptoms such as:
- Pain and tenderness
- Scaling or ulcers
How Is It Diagnosed?
Venous ultrasounds are one of the most common methods used to diagnose DVT. They use high-frequency sound waves instead of radiation and are non-invasive and painless.
A gel bonds your skin with the ultrasound wand or probe. Still pictures record any clots.
The ultrasound process takes about 30 minutes. You may require multiple ultrasounds if your thrombus grows or moves.
A venous ultrasound can identify about 95% of blood clots above the knee, the most common place for DVT to originate from. It’s less accurate in other areas, identifying only 60-70% of blood clots in the calves.
Other testing methods include a VQ scan, CT scan, MRI, venography, and blood tests.
A pulmonary ventilation/perfusion or VQ scan is a series of 2 scans in the lungs. Computer tomography or CT scans use X-rays and computer equipment to create 3D scans of blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies to examine blood vessels and soft tissue. Venography involves injecting dye into a vein to determine blood flow. Blood tests examine the levels of D-Dimer in your blood.
All of these tests help identify blood clots before they become a serious issue.
How Is It Treated?
There are several different types of medications used to treat DVT.
Anticoagulants keep a thrombus from growing. They’re prescribed in less serious cases.
Thrombolytics, also known as “clot busters,” must be given through an IV or catheter. They’re inserted into a blood vessel and break up clots. They’re strong and can cause bleeding problems, so they’re usually reserved for serious cases.
The most deadly cases of DVT may require a special umbrella-shaped filter. It’s inserted into a large vein known as the vena cava. It blocks a thrombus from reaching your lungs and causing severe complications.
How Can I Prevent It?
There are several ways to improve vein health.
Be sure you get enough exercise every day. Try medical compression stockings. Always wear loose-fitting clothes.
Telehealth is the practice of offering health services through connected devices such as smartphones and computers. It’s grown in popularity during the pandemic and because it improves access for patients across the globe.
There are several sectors of telehealth you need to know to understand how it can help with your DVT diagnosis and treatment. They include digital pathology and telecardiology.
Digital pathology is the process of using digital scanners to diagnose diseases. They use chips and cameras to collect images that are placed on slides that can be shared and analyzed.
Linear digital scanners use satellites. They collect several images and combine them into one.
Digital pathology has several benefits, including:
- Improved turnaround time
- Reduced mistakes
- Reduced time to develop medicines
- More accurate results
- Less breakage
- Easier data management
- Better collaboration
Telecardiology is a segment of telehealth that focuses on the heart.
Patients may require an in-person visit for their first appointment, but they can transition to appointments on an internet-connected device soon afterward.
There are several advantages of telecardiology. It’s easy and accessible, saves hospitals money, improves patient health, speeds up communication, allows for portable devices and overnight reporting, and improves team training.
Telehealth and the Venous Ultrasound
Telecardiology makes it easier to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at any time. It allows for overnight reporting and better team training, giving you faster and more accurate results.
Telehealth gives your doctors a more accurate perception of your condition. It also makes it easier for them to collaborate and get a second opinion when necessary.
Allowing telehealth and a venous ultrasound to work together is one of the best ways to diagnose and treat DVT.
Finding Telehealth Specialists
DVT is a serious condition caused by blood clots in large veins. They can travel to the lungs or other vital organs and become deadly.
A venous ultrasound is one of the most common ways to diagnose this condition. When combined with the advantages of a telehealth system, you can get faster and more accurate results.
Specialist Direct helps you find the right telehealth providers for your needs. Get a free consultation today.