Signs and Symptoms of Deep-Vein Thrombosis (DVT) | PreventDVT.org
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Signs and Symptoms of Deep-Vein Thrombosis

DVT can strike almost anyone at risk. Genetics plays a part, but so does environment. Only about half of the people with DVT experience symptoms.2

Symptoms of DVT may include:2

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Discoloration or redness of the affected area
  • Skin that is warm to the touch

Diagnosing DVT

Because a number of other conditions - including muscle strains, skin infections, and phlebitis (inflammation of superficial veins) – display symptoms similar to those of DVT, the condition may be difficult to diagnose without specific tests.

If your healthcare provider suspects you could have DVT, here are some of the tests that may be needed to diagnose the condition:

Doppler (Duplex Venous) Ultrasound3

This noninvasive procedure uses sound waves to create pictures of the blood flowing through the legs. The waves travel through the leg tissue and reflect back, enabling a computer to transform them into a moving image that can reveal the presence of a clot.

Doppler ultrasound is the most popular method for diagnosing DVT. Not only is it painless and easy to perform, it is also very effective for diagnosing blood clots (or thrombi) where they are most dangerous–in the deep veins of the upper leg and groin. It is not quite as effective when diagnosing below the knee.


In this procedure, dye is injected into a large vein in the foot or ankle. An X-ray image is then taken to reveal the location of possible clots.

Venography is one of the most accurate ways to identify DVT, but it may be uncomfortable. Occasionally it may cause phlebitis, an inflammation of the superficial veins. In addition to being invasive, venography is expensive. It also requires a high degree of expertise to perform and interpret correctly.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)4

MRI uses a strong magnet to visualize the body's internal structures and generate clear, high-quality images. Preliminary studies suggest that Magnetic Resonance Imaging may be very effective in diagnosing DVT, especially in the thigh and pelvic areas.

Are you or a loved one at risk for DVT blood clots?

Key DVT Statistics

Did you know that up to 2 million Americans are affected annually by DVT?