One of the more common conditions that we see in our line of work is chronic embolism and thrombosis of the right popliteal vein. This occurs when there is a blockage in the vein that carries blood from the foot and ankle back up to the heart. The blockage is usually caused by a blood clot (thrombus) that forms in the calf or thigh. This can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is bad circulation (venous insufficiency). Patients who are on blood thinning medications such as WARFARIN are at a higher risk for developing this condition.
The most common cause of chronic embolism and thrombosis of the right popliteal vein is venous insufficiency. This is a condition where the veins have trouble carrying blood back up to the heart. When this happens, blood can pool in the legs and form clots. Other causes include:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT),
- Central venous catheters,
- Certain medical conditions like cancer.
The most common symptom of chronic embolism and thrombosis of the right popliteal vein is pain and swelling in the affected leg. The pain is usually worse when you walk or stand for long periods of time. Other symptoms include
- Skin discoloration
- Clotting (thrombosis) below the knee.
If left untreated, chronic embolism and thrombosis of the right popliteal vein can lead to serious complications like irreversible tissue damage, non-healing wounds, and even amputation. In some cases, it can also lead to pulmonary embolism (PE), which is when a blood clot breaks free and lodges in the lungs. PE can be deadly if not treated immediately.
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There are several risk factors for chronic embolism and thrombosis of the right popliteal vein. These include being over the age of 60, having systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), having had DVT before, being obese, smoking cigarettes, and being on certain medications such as birth control pills or estrogens. Pregnancy can also increase your risk for this condition.
Chronic embolism and thrombosis of the right popliteal vein is usually diagnosed with an ultrasound or MRI scan. In some cases, a venogram may also be necessary. This is a special x-ray that uses dye injected into the veins to help them show up more clearly on the image. Once diagnosed, your doctor will develop a treatment plan based on the severity of your condition.
The goal of treatment for chronic embolism and thrombosis of the right popliteal vein is to improve symptoms and prevent further clotting. Treatment options include anticoagulation therapy (blood thinners), compression stockings, physical therapy, and surgery. In some cases, antibiotics may also be necessary to treat any infection that may have developed. If you have pulmonary embolism (PE), you will need to be treated immediately with medication or surgery to remove the clot before it becomes fatal.
Patients who are on blood thinning medications such as WARFARIN [COUMADIN] are advised to monitor their PT/INR regularly. They can now easily perform their tests on their own with the help of PT/INR METERS and can have the reading in no time.