Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Symptoms, 
Diagnosis, and Tests

Although as many as half of people who get a DVT don’t experience any symptoms, it’s still important to recognize what the DVT symptoms are so you can see your healthcare professional immediately to begin treatment. Untreated DVTs can break off and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism (PE).

Symptoms of DVT

  • Swelling of the leg or affected area
  • Pain or tenderness at rest or when standing or walking
  • Skin that is warm to the touch
  • Skin that is red or discolored

I noticed that my lower right leg was just ballooned out about twice its size.

Hear Bob describe the symptoms that sent him to the emergency room.

How is a DVT diagnosed?

When you see your healthcare professional, whether in the doctor’s office or hospital, he or she will first check your legs for signs of a DVT. Then, he or she may draw some blood to test whether there is clotting activity present.

DVT tests

One DVT test your healthcare professional may use to diagnose you is called a D-dimer. This test looks for a substance in your blood that increases when blood clots are forming. A normal result means a clot is not likely. A high result means that a DVT blood clot is present. Your healthcare professional may also take an ultrasound, an internal picture of your leg using high-frequency sound waves, to confirm that you have a DVT.