Blood Clots Fact Sheet

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein, most commonly in the lower leg or thigh. The clot can block blood flow and cause pain, swelling, and skin discoloration.
  • A blood clot that forms in a deep vein can become dislodged and travel through the bloodstream. This is called an embolus. Pulmonary embolism (PE) is the condition that results when a clot that has been dislodged travels to the lung.
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism affect an estimated 350,000 to 600,000 Americans each year, and the numbers are expected to increase as the U.S. population ages.
  • Together, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism contribute to at least 100,000 deaths each year.
  • Individuals age 50 and over are more likely to develop DVT.
  • Deep vein thrombosis can often be prevented and treated.
  • The key to prevention is to recognize risk factors and take recommended steps to lower your risk.
  • The key to successful treatment is to recognize symptoms of DVT promptly and seek treatment right away.

Source: The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism