Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that occurs when a blood clot develops in a deep vein like those in the legs and thighs. DVT can be found anywhere in the body. Should a DVT develop, it is a serious issue because the clot can break loose and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE). Superficial thrombophlebitis is not as severe as these clots are restricted to superficial veins and are not able to move to the lungs.

There are different classifications of DVT and PE that are known as chronic and acute for each condition. Our vein specialists wish to clarify the differences between each.

Acute vs. Chronic DVT

Acute and chronic DVT are classified based on how long they have existed. An acute DVT is a new thrombosis. Acute DVT requires beginning anticoagulant therapy. A chronic DVT is an old or previously diagnosed thrombus. Chronic DVT requires the continuation of anticoagulation therapies.

Acute vs. Chronic PE

A diagnosis of chronic PE disease typically follows after your Atlanta vein specialist discovers pulmonary hypertension through ECHO, ventilation/perfusion scans or CT scans. Your physician will seek confirmation by performing a pulmonary angiogram. Most chronic PE cases will require anticoagulant therapy, especially given that most symptomatic patients are not good candidates for surgical removal of the embolism.

DVT and PE Are Life-Threatening Diseases

Whether you have acute or chronic forms of DVT or PE, you need to be aware that these conditions are potentially life-threatening. If you develop a DVT, the goal is to break it up and allow it to dissolve before it travels to your lungs to create a PE or travels to your heart or brain, where it can cause cardiac arrest and stroke.