Introduction to Venous Thromboembolism

Venous Thromboembolism is a condition in which a blood vessel is blocked by a blood clot carried in the bloodstream from its origin of the formation. Thromboembolism may be fatal.

Venous Thromboembolism

Blood clotting is a natural process that is important for our survival. When a blood vessel is damaged due to any reason, blood coagulates to prevent excessive bleeding. Platelets and proteins in plasma work together to stop excessive bleeding by forming a blood clot. But when blood clots are formed abnormally due to any particular reason it could cause disease like venous thromboembolism.

venous thromboembolism

Venous thromboembolism is a disease in which blood clots are formed within the deep vein of the lower body (legs, thigh or calf) causing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clot moves to lungs through blood circulation causing pulmonary embolism (PE). Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): Formation of blood clots in deep veins of mostly leg or thigh.

Pulmonary embolism (PE): A blood clot that breaks from a DVT clot and moves to the lung through bloodstream blocking some or all of the blood supply to the lungs causing  PE.



  • Each year, there are around 10 million cases of VTE globally.
  • There are 100,000 – 300,000 deaths caused by VTE in the United States
  • In Europe, there are 544,000 VTE-related deaths annually.
  • In the U.S. and Europe, VTE-related events kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and motor vehicle crashes collectively.
  • Up to 60 percent of VTE cases happen during or after hospitalization.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) vs. Pulmonary embolism (PE)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism are types of venous thromboembolism but both of them are different from each other.venous thromboembolism

Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which thrombus (blood clot) is formed usually within deep veins of leg due to certain reasons such as cancer or chemotherapy, heart disease, use of birth control pills or any other hormonal therapy, damage to vessel of lower body, prolonged sitting or immobility, advanced age or obesity. Signs and symptoms of DVT in the leg are swelling, pain, redness of specific area of the leg, tenderness in the leg while standing or walking, warmth and discoloration of skin at the site of the clot in the leg.

Pulmonary embolism occurs when a DVT clot breaks off and travels through the bloodstream to the lungs and block vessels which damages lungs. Few causes of pulmonary embolism are deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins, tobacco use, any kind of respiratory or inflammatory disease, cancer or undergoing cancer treatment, immobility or prolonged sitting and use of birth control or hormonal therapy pills. Signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism are throbbing chest pain, fever, discolored skin, irregular or increased heartbeat, cough or blood in a cough, shortness of breath, weak pulse, and faintness.

Deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis

Individuals who are at risk of deep vein thrombosis should be given proper instructions about prevention (prophylaxis)

These preventions may include:

  1. Active and healthy lifestyle.
  2. Lose weight if you are overweight.
  3. Walk around if possible on long flights.
  4. Avoid long periods of sitting.
  5. Use of compression stockings.
  6. Medshoola compression pumps.
  7. Anti-coagulants (Blood thinners).

Renal vein thrombosis

Renal vein thrombosis (RVT) is the formation of a blood clot blocking renal vein which carries away blood from kidneys resulting in a reduction of drainage of both kidneys. The clot may also migrate to other parts of the body. Mainly newborn with blood clotting abnormalities or severe dehydration or adults with nephrotic syndrome are affected by renal vein thrombosis.

venous thromboembolism

Signs and symptoms of renal vein thrombosis

For newborn and young children suffering from dehydration basis renal vein thrombosis following are the signs and symptoms of RVT:

  1. Dry mouth
  2. Low urine output
  3. Dehydrated skin
  4. Vomiting
  5. Nausea
  6. Fever

Signs and symptoms of renal vein thrombosis for adolescents are:

  1. Flank pain
  2. Blood in the urine
  3. Anemia
  4. Edema
  5. Enlarged kidneys
  6. Kidney failure.

Causes of renal vein thrombosis

  1. Birth control pills or other hormonal therapy
  2. Dehydration in the case of infants(dehydration cause decrease blood flow
  3. Heredity blood clotting disorders such as Hypercoagulability
  4. The nephrotic syndrome caused by Membranous glomerulonephritis, minimal change disease, and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
  5. Tumors
  6. Trauma or injury to the back of the abdomen

Diagnosis of renal vein thrombosis

  1. Urinalysis:  It is a urine test which indicates the excess amount of protein in urine or presence of blood cells. These signs indicate the possibility of having RVT.
  2. CT scan: A scan which can show any kidney stones, tumors, blood in urine or any infections that can be a cause of RVT.
  3. Doppler ultrasonography: This method detects blood flow. Slow blood flow means the presence of blood clot in the renal vein which is a cause of RVT.
  4. Venography: Doctor takes X-rays of the kidney veins in a venography. a catheter is used to inject a special dye into the veins. The doctor uses the X-ray to see how the dyed blood flows. If there’s a blood clot or blockage, it will become visible in imaging.
  5. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): is a test using pulses of radio waves to produce images of organs and the internal structure of the body. It is used mainly to detect tumors, internal bleeding, infections, and arterial issues.
  6. A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA): is used to see the inside of blood vessels and veins. This test can help to recognize and diagnose blood clots in renal veins.

Prevention for renal vein thrombosis

  1. Active and healthy lifestyle
  2. Remain hydrated

Treatment for renal vein thrombosis

  1. Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  2. Thrombolytic drugs (clot dissolvers)
  3. Dialysis
  4. Surgery