Deep vein thrombosis

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 15 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:938
  1. Kieran Walsh, editorial registrar (bmjlearning{at}
  1. BMJ Learning

    BMJ Learning offers online learning resources to train and test your skills in a variety of clinical and non-clinical topics. We aim to publish new modules every month, and this month we have “Deep vein thrombosis.”

    A general practitioner with a list of 2000 patients can expect to see two new cases of deep vein thrombosis and one new case of pulmonary embolism each year. Deep vein thrombosis typically occurs in the leg, but veins in the arms, retina, mesentery, and cerebral sinus may also be affected. Complications range from post-thrombotic syndrome to death from pulmonary embolism, but the initial diagnosis can be difficult because symptoms may be minor or absent.

    Management of deep vein thrombosis has advanced substantially in the in the past 10 years. For example, plasma d-dimer tests in combination with a structured clinical assessment help in excluding the presence of deep vein thrombosis. The advent of low molecular weight heparin has revolutionised the way that we treat patients: it can be given once a day as a subcutaneous injection, and so these days most people are cared for at home.

    To find out more about these and other advances in diagnosis and management of deep vein thrombosis, try our new learning module on

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