Deep vein thrombosis: diagnosis and treatment
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Deep vein thrombosis: diagnosis and treatment

Lynda Bonner Consultant nurse for thrombosis and anticoagulation, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London
Jacqueline Johnson Coagulation clinical nurse specialist, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London

This article aims to give nurses an insight into proximal deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is relatively common and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Complications such as post-thrombotic syndrome, venous leg ulcers, recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) – pulmonary embolism (PE) or DVT – and pulmonary hypertension can develop following DVT diagnosis. There is also a risk that a large PE could prove fatal. While VTE prevention is a clinical priority, nurses should also have appropriate skills and knowledge to care for patients with suspected DVT. Nurses need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of DVT, common diagnostic tests, pharmacological and mechanical treatments, and the follow-up investigations patients should be offered.

Nursing Standard. 28, 21, 51-58. doi: 10.7748/ns2014.01.28.21.51.e8222

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 20 August 2013

Accepted: 14 October 2013

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