Know the Signs of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) is the term used to described two types of blood clots known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE). DVT occurs when one of the deeper veins, such as the ones in the legs or pelvis, develop a blood clot. It can lead to swelling and redness and potentially more issues should the clot break loose. PE can occur when a clot breaks away from where it initially began and travels to the lungs. Symptoms can include pain, shortness of breath or coughing up blood.
Why these diseases are important in Inflammatory Bowel Disease is because of the increased risk IBD patients have in developing one of these conditions. According to a recent study in The Lancet non hospitalized patients with active IBD are 16 times more likely to have VTE (1).
While it had previously been noted that people who are in hospital settings, mainly due to being bedridden, were at higher risk this is the first study that noted an increased risk in patients who are ambulatory. This is thought to be due to the inflammation present with IBD that is in active stages of the disease.
Most physicians believe there is no reason to treat for VTE in a prophylactic way but that patients and physicians should use this information to keep an eye out for signs of VTE.
Should you experience any of the following signs please seek medical advice immediately.
Deep Vein Thrombosis:
Swelling in the calf, ankle or foot
Tenderness or pain in the calf or upper leg
Purple or blue discoloration of the skin on the leg
Abnormal warmth of the leg
Redness of the skin
Sharp chest pain
Shortness of breath
Coughing up blood
Rapid heart beat
Feeling faint or fainting