Michael Johns, the Australian singer-songwriter who was in season 7 of American Idol in 2008, was found dead in his friend’s apartment after twisting his ankle a week before his death. The reason for his death was a blood clot from an ankle injury.
What is a blood clot? As we all know, there are two mainstreams of blood flowing throughout the body: arterial and venous pathways. The heart pumps blood through arteries to all the organ systems in the body. Then the blood is pushed back to the heart by veins when muscles in the body contract. Blood clot mechanism is very important since that is how the body stops the bleeding when we have any sort of injuries whether it is a simple cut or an automobile injury. A medical terminology for blood blot is “thrombus”. Sometimes, thrombus is formed when it is not needed after an injury and the healing process has already occurred. Just like blood flowing pathways, there are arterial thrombi (plural of thrombus) and venous thrombi.
What are the differences between arterial vs. venous thrombi? Arterial thrombi are caused by: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking. Venous thrombi are cause by two major factors: immobility and generic error for blood clotting. Immobility can be a result from orthopedics injuries and casting for the injuries, hospitalization/bed-ridden, long trips in a car/airplane. Generic error in blood clotting makes the person more likely to form clots (hyper-coagulation). When the clot occurs in deep or large veins, it is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is especially a major concern to podiatrists since it is easy to detect and yet can easily be missed as well.
What are the symptoms of DVT? The symptoms of DVT include swelling, pain or tenderness, and warmth or redness of the skin on the affected leg. About half of the people diagnosed with DVT don’t experience any of the symptoms which makes diagnosis/prevention/treatment a great challenge. DVT is a serious condition that can lead to pulmonary embolism which causes an ultimate silent death to patients who were failed to be diagnosed.
How can DVT be diagnosed? DVT can be diagnosed through clinical symptoms with blood test, CAT scan, ultrasound, or angiogram.
Think you might have suffered from similar symptoms listed in DVT after sustaining an injury? We can help. If you are located in the Monmouth/Ocean county area make an appointment today at Affiliated and Foot and Ankle Center located in Howell NJ to have one of our foot and ankle specialists help with prevention or treatment of possible DVT or to an injury of your ankle or foot.