Inflammation May Behind DVT

Scientists find evidence linking it to clots in deep leg veins

TUESDAY, Nov. 25, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- New evidence supports the belief that the development of blood clots in veins is an inflammatory process.

The evidence has been uncovered by scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Until recently, deep venous thrombosis (DVT) -- a serious and potentially fatal condition -- was thought to be solely a blood or vascular disorder.

"When a blood clot develops in superficial veins of the leg -- a condition called phlebitis -- the redness and swelling associated with inflammation are visible," Dr. Thomas W. Wakefield, a scientist and vascular surgeon in the university's Cardiovascular Center, says in a prepared statement.

"When a clot forms deep inside the leg, these signs are hidden, so physicians have rarely associated DVTs with inflammation," Wakefield says.

In research with mice, Wakefield and a colleague concluded inflammatory molecules and immune system cells play a important role when a blood clot develops inside veins. The findings appear in the November issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

This line of research may lead to new ways to prevent clot formation using an anti-inflammatory approach, instead of relying on blood-thinning anticoagulants to treat DVT after it develops.

"All current blood-thinning medications can cause serious bleeding problems in patients, so there's a need for new treatment options. The more we understand about the mechanism of DVT formation, the better our chances of finding safer ways to treat it," Wakefield says.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about DVT.

SOURCE: University of Michigan Health System, news release, November 2003
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