This information is intended for members of the public in UK only.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT and PE

Signs and symptoms of DVT

The most common symptoms and signs of a DVT in a leg are:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Change in skin colour (blue/red purple) or warmth on the affected limb.

In some cases of DVT there may be no symptoms.

DVTs can be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are non-specific and are similar to those of muscle pain or soreness from cramp or a muscle strain.

Symptoms can start suddenly or can appear slowly over days and weeks.

Signs and symptoms of PE

As with DVT, the symptoms of a PE are non-specific and depend on the severity of the blockage.

The symptoms and signs of a PE can include:

  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Cough (with/without blood-stained mucus)
  • Chest pain/discomfort
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • A faster than normal or irregular heartbeat or low blood pressure

However, sometimes people with a PE do not have any symptoms.

Symptoms of a PE can be similar to those of other medical conditions, for example pneumonia and heart attack. It is important that you seek immediate medical assistance if you experience any of these symptoms.

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Reference information

This section contains reference information only, is general in nature and intended to provide a general overview of venous thromboembolism for the general public in the UK. It is not intended to replace in any way the opinion of a healthcare professional. For specific information about this pathology and/or detection, diagnosis, prognosis, administration and, where applicable, appropriate treatment for each specific case, please promptly consult a healthcare professional. The use of this website is subject to the legal notice, the privacy and cookie policy, and the applicable laws and regulations.