Deep Vein Thrombosis

Some injuries are a direct result of trauma. When a car hits someone in a pedestrian accident, the victim can suffer a fractured leg. You can trace a direct causal chain from the driver’s actions to the broken bone.

Other injuries, like deep vein thrombosis, result indirectly from a traumatic incident. You can develop this condition because of the changes in your body and lifestyle after suffering an injury. But deep vein thrombosis can produce symptoms that are just as dangerous and costly as those from injuries that directly result from the trauma you suffered.

How Does Your Circulatory System Work?

How Does Your Circulatory System Work?

Every cell in your body needs oxygen for cell metabolism. Without oxygen, cells cannot generate energy and produce proteins to keep you alive.

Your lungs and heart cooperate to deliver oxygen to your cells. Red blood cells pick up oxygen as they pass through arteries in your lungs. The oxygenated blood flows back to the heart, where this powerful muscle can pump the blood to the body.

Arteries run from the heart to the shoulders and head and down to your abdomen and legs. As they move further from your heart, the arteries branch into smaller and smaller blood vessels that deliver blood to individual muscles and organs. Once there, the red cells give up their oxygen molecule and pick up a carbon dioxide molecule.

The oxygen-depleted blood enters the veins for the return trip to the heart. It has lost most of the pressure imparted by the heart as it pumps it to the body. As a result, the blood in the veins flows more slowly than the blood in the arteries. Also, the blood returning to the heart from the hands and feet must flow against gravity, further slowing its flow.

The veins have a series of valves that open when the heart beats and pull the venous blood toward the heart. They close between heartbeats so the blood does not flow back under the influence of gravity.

What Can Cause Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis happens when blood clots form in the veins. The clots typically form behind the valves where the blood pools between heartbeats. The clots can clog the veins or even travel to other parts of the body.

Some potential causes of deep vein thrombosis include:

Decreased Activity

Activity helps your blood circulate by forcing your heart to pump stronger and faster. Moving your arms and legs can also help your blood move through your veins instead of pooling near the valves.

After an injury, your doctor might prescribe bed rest. You might also lack the physical strength and energy to move around. While you rest, your blood can pool in your veins, increasing the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.

Doctors reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis during bed rest by prescribing compression socks or a sequential pressure machine. These devices squeeze your feet to push the blood in your veins up your legs. Since the responsibility to prescribe these treatments falls on your doctor, you may suffer from medical malpractice if your doctor fails to use them.

Pressure on the Veins

Pressure points on your body can squeeze the veins and slow your blood flow. When you sit or lie down for a long time, pressure on your body can create choke points where blood cannot flow freely. A blood clot can develop at this pressure point.

Nurses turn patients regularly to reduce the risk of pressure sores and deep vein thrombosis. When they roll you over, the pressure gets relieved, and the venous blood can flow unobstructed.

Increased Clotting Factors

Blood clots form when platelets in the blood stick together. Blood clots prevent you from bleeding to death.

The body increases the clotting factors that encourage platelets when you suffer an injury. 

Some situations when the blood will increase these proteins include:

  • Broken bones so that a clot can form over the fracture
  • Surgery so you do not bleed to death during your operation
  • Laceration to seal the cut against infection

The clotting factors make your blood thicker and more likely to form clots. You can also develop deep vein thrombosis when a piece breaks off a clot and travels through your veins.

Deep Vein Thrombosis: Symptoms and Complications

The deep veins of the legs are the most likely places where a patient will develop deep vein thrombosis. Occasionally, patients will suffer deep vein thrombosis in the deep veins of their arms.

A clot in your veins restricts blood flow. 

As a result, you may experience a range of symptoms in the affected limb, including:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmth
  • Discoloration

Doctors can often treat these symptoms by dissolving the clot with anticoagulants. These clot-busting drugs break apart the proteins that hold clots together.

Without treatment, you can suffer several complications. Some common complications from deep vein thrombosis include the following:

Valve Damage

When a clot forms against a valve, the pressure of the clot can damage the vein or valve. As a result, the valve cannot prevent the blood from flowing backward in the vein. The blood will pool, leading to pain, swelling, and discoloration.

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a clot travels through the veins to the chest. There, it lodges in the arteries and blocks blood from reaching the lungs. 

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Rapid heartbeat

Without treatment, a pulmonary embolism can cause lung damage, heart failure, or even death.

Tissue Death and Gangrene

The swelling caused by deep vein thrombosis can squeeze the arteries shut. Without the oxygen carried by the blood, the tissues die. Dead tissues decompose and release toxins into the blood. As a result, you develop gangrene.

Can I Get Personal Injury Compensation For Deep Vein Thrombosis?

You can pursue an accident claim for any injuries caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. The issue you may face with deep vein thrombosis is causation. Since trauma does not directly cause this condition, you must show that your injuries caused your deep vein thrombosis.

The law has a doctrine colloquially called the “eggshell skull rule.” Under this doctrine, the consequences you suffer from the at-fault party’s actions will count toward your injury claim, even if they are rare. Under this doctrine, you should recover compensation for your deep vein thrombosis after showing that the other party caused the injury that led to it.

Deep vein thrombosis can cause pain and permanently damage your veins and lungs. Contact the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid at (630) 349-2433 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Naperville to discuss your case.