Venous Thromboembolism

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) develops when a blood clot forms in a vein. There are two types:

  1. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) usually develops when a deep vein blood clot forms in the deep veins of the leg, groin or arm. It can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening if the clot breaks free from a vein, travels through the circulation and becomes lodged in the lungs (known as Pulmonary Embolism).
  2. Pulmonary Embolism (PE) happens when a DVT clot begins to travel up the body, slowing or cutting off all blood supply to the lungs. This condition can oftentimes be fatal.


Venous thromboembolisms commonly occur because of surgery, cancer, and immobility. Other factors include obesity, autoimmune disease and thick blood caused by genetics.


  1. DVT will usually affect one side of the body at a time and show these warning signs:
    • Swelling in the legs
    • Pain in the thigh or calf
    • Warm skin
    • Red streaks or discoloration
  2. PE can be fatal causing these warning signs:
    • Rapid breathing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chest pain
    • Lightheadedness 
    • Rapid heart rate


*Stock photographs and artwork are for illustrative purposes only. This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on this article as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other healthcare providers.