Navigate Up

Contact the UPMC Heart & Vascular Institute

Request an appointment online, call 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484), or email us.

​Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

What Is DVT?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein that can travel to the heart or lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

Causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis

A DVT may occur spontaneously or result from a prior condition or treatment, such as:

  • Surgery
  • Trauma
  • Pregnancy
  • Bed rest
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Genetic predisposition to blood clots

Symptoms of chronic or old DVT — called postphlebitic syndrome — include:

DVT Treatment

At the UPMC Division of Vascular Surgery, our doctors have experience in several advanced methods for treating DVT.

Interventional procedures

  • Thrombolysis: medication delivered through a catheter to break up a blood clot. Thrombolysis is performed in the hospital under careful monitoring.
  • Vena cava (IVC) filters: small, metal devices positioned in the vena cava — near the renal (kidney) veins — to stop blood clots in the legs before they can travel to the heart and lungs and cause pulmonary embolism.
  • Venous stenting: tubes used to open clotted veins either immediately after clotting in conjunction with lysis, or years after a deep vein thrombosis. Venous stenting can quickly open veins and help relieve leg swelling. Stents can be made of nitinol or stainless steel, and are most commonly used in the vena cava or pelvic veins.


  • Venous bypass: very rarely, it is necessary to perform a surgery to restore normal vein circulation, most often needed years after large deep vein clots. This procedure is available through the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute's Vein Center.

Learn More About Deep Vein Thrombosis

UPMC Patient Education Materials:


Emmi ™ Patient Education Videos:

ADAM Health Library

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA