ZocdocAnswersWill compression stocking stop DVT from reaching your lungs?

Question

Will compression stocking stop DVT from reaching your lungs?

I have possible DVT in calf and have tests later this week and was wondering if wearing compression stockings would reduce the risk of Pulmonary Embolism.

Answer

I am sorry to hear about this new concern for DVT. I strongly encourage you to raise this concern with the doctor managing this issue (usually a cardiologist, hematologist, or primary care doctor), as the specific details of your medical history and current situation are important in making this decision. Typically, factors such as prolonged sitting, recent surgery, genetic disorder, autoimmune disorder, or cancer increase your risk of developing a blood clot throughout your body, although these commonly occur in your legs since this is where venous blood stasis is greatest due to gravity. Once a blood clot forms, there is a risk it can migrate into the pulmonary artery, which is the blood vessel connecting your heart to your lung. This can cause increased strain on your heart or even death. The DVT is typically diagnosed via ultrasound. If you do have a blood clot, treatment will depend on its location. Per guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians, blood clots confined to the distal leg (calf and below) do not require treatment unless you have risk factors that raise concern for progression or embolization. Proximal blood clots (extending into the thigh) typically require treatment with a blood thinner. There is a theoretical concern that additional trauma or intense squeezing of the leg at the site of a blood clot can cause it to migrate and form a pulmonary embolism. There is no data to support the use of compression stockings to prevent progression of a DVT into a pulmonary embolism. Given these concerns, I recommend you discuss this issue with your doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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