Blood clots occur when blood cells pool and stick together. Your body naturally forms blood clots to stop bleeding at sites of injury. However, sometimes blood clots can form inside veins.
Venous thromboembolism (or VTE for short) is a term which covers two related conditions; deep vein thrombosis (or DVT) and pulmonary embolism (or PE). When a blood clot blocks a vessel, most frequently within the deep veins of the legs, it is termed DVT. Part of the blood clot from a DVT may also break off and travel to the lungs resulting in a PE.
VTE is fairly common. Approximately 1 in 20 people will have a VTE in their lifetime.
Deep vein thrombosis (or DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a deep vein in the body. DVTs generally occur in the lower leg, thigh or pelvic area.
The clot stops or restricts the normal flow of blood in the vein, leading to blood building up below the clot.
A pulmonary embolism (or PE) occurs when a blood vessel in the lungs gets blocked by a blood clot or part of a clot (embolus) that has broken loose from a DVT and travelled through the bloodstream and into the lungs.