Interventional Radiology

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Acute DVT?

Deep venous thrombosis or DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein. It commonly affects the leg veins, such as the femoral vein, the popliteal vein or the deep veins of the pelvis. In the United States alone, 600,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

What are the Symptoms of Acute DVT?

Classical symptoms of DVT are a sudden onset of leg or back pain with sudden swelling of one or both legs. The leg may have a purple color; sometime the leg may become warm.

How is Acute DVT treated?

The goal in the treatment of acute DVT is to remove the blood clot. Once the clot is removed, the swelling and pain typically resolve. At Stanford we have a variety of techniques, drugs and devices that can be used to remove the blood clot. The procedure involves placing a catheter, similar to an IV into the blocked vein. Depending on how much clot is present and how old the clot is determines which device we use.

A link to some of the devices is below:

What is Chronic DVT?

Clot that is one to two months old is called "chronic". The clot becomes harder and scars the vein. Actually, as a result of this process the vein becomes much smaller and does not allow blood to flow through effectively.

How do you treat Chronic DVT?

At Stanford, we use a variety of techniques to get through the blocked vein, and the place a metal stent to open up the vein. After this procedure, patients are typically on blood thinners for at least 6 months.

How do you treat DVT in the arm?

We use the same techniques described above for blood clots in the arm.

Who is at risk to develop a DVT?

Patients with cancer, taking hormonall contraception (birth control), pregnant, recent surgery, immobilization, family history of blood clots.

What is an Interventional Radiologist?

Interventional radiologists are doctors who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments that have less risk, less pain and less recovery time compared to open surgery. They use their expertise to interpret X-rays, ultrasound, MRI and other diagnostic imaging studies to understand, diagnose and map out the procedure tailored to the individual patient. Interventional radiologists use imaging and tiny instruments, such as catheters, through blood vessels or skin, to treat diseases at the site of the illness.

Interventional radiology is a recognized medical specialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Interventional radiologists complete preliminary training in Diagnostic Radiology and advanced training in Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

What other outpatient consultations do you offer?

We offer outpatient consultations in the following areas:

  • Deep venous thrombosis
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Interventional oncology
  • Varicose veins
  • Uterine fibroid embolization
  • Arteriovenous malformations
  • Portal hypertension
  • Varicocele embolization
  • Pelvic congestion syndrome treatment
How long will the consultation last?

An initial consultation typically takes 60 - 90 minutes. If you have multiple doctor appointments scheduled for the same day, please allow yourself enough time between appointments, so that we can provide you with the best care possible.

What do I need to bring to my consultation?

Please have the following available when you call to schedule a consultation visit. We may ask you to fill out an intake form as a first step to making an appointment, especially if you are new to Stanford:

  • Insurance card
  • Name, address and telephone number of your referring physician, primary care provider, and any other doctors you would like us to stay in contact with regarding you care from Stanford Interventional Radiology. Please also bring these with to you appointment.
  • If you have had imaging studies (CT, MRI, ultrasound, PET scan) at another facility, please have available what imaging study was done, where, and their contact information. We will help instruct you or that facility how to send us the actual images (usually a CD) as well as the radiologist's report. It is important that we get the images in advance so we have an opportunity to review them and give you as much time in your clinic visit as we can.
  • If you have had lab tests at another hospital, please ask them to fax us a copy of the results.
  • DVT Intake Form

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