Deep Vein Thrombosis and Obesity

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – or venous thromboembolic (VTE) disease – results when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a deep lying vein, usually in the leg or pelvic region, typically due to venal damage or interruption or stoppage in blood flow. The formation of a clot is not dangerous per se, however if a clot forms above the knee, there is a risk that a fragment may break away and travel up the vein to block a blood vessel in the lung. This rare event is called a pulmonary embolism (PE) or pulmonary thromboembolism (PTE), and may be life-threatening.

Independent Risk Factors For Deep Vein Thrombosis May Not Include Obesity

The most effective predictor of deep vein thrombosis is a prior history of the disease. Other risk factors include vascular damage, hypertension and predisposition to blood clotting. Although obesity (BMI 30+) has traditionally been recognised as an independent risk factor for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, some medical experts now consider that the evidence supporting this association is inadequate, as much depends on other factors such as history, illness, immobility, and age.

Obesity Likely to Remain a Contributory Factor to Deep Vein Thrombosis

Even if further research reveals that obesity is not an independent risk factor, its close association with hypertension and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease means that obesity – and especially severe clinical morbid obesity – remains a secondary risk factor for vascular complications like deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or venous thromboembolic (VTE) disease.


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