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DVT is one of the most prevalent medical problems today, with an annual incidence of 80 cases per 100,000.
Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 people develop venous thrombosis; of those, 50,000 cases are complicated by PE.
These suprafascial collecting veins can dilate to accommodate large volumes of blood with little increase in back pressure so that the volume of blood sequestered within the venous system at any moment can vary by a factor of 2 or more without interfering with the normal function of the veins.
Suprafascial collecting veins belong to the superficial venous system.
The clinical conundrum is that symptoms (pain and swelling) are often nonspecific or absent.
However, if left untreated, the thrombus may become fragmented or dislodged and migrate to obstruct the arterial supply to the lung, causing potentially life-threatening PE See the images below.
Just below the knee, these tibial veins join to become the popliteal vein, which too can be paired on occasion.
(See Workup.) Early recognition and appropriate treatment of DVT and its complications can save many lives.
(See Treatment and Management.) The goals of pharmacotherapy for DVT are to reduce morbidity, prevent postthrombotic syndrome (PTS), and prevent PE.
Conclusive diagnosis has historically required invasive and expensive venography, which is still considered the criterion standard.
The diagnosis may also be obtained noninvasively by means of ultrasonographic examination.
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In 1846, Virchow recognized the association between venous thrombosis in the legs and PE.