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Date: 28 November 2023

Time: 15:29

Causes and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism


You are at increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) if you:

  • have been immobile (sitting or laying down) for long periods of time
  • are over 60 years of age
  • have had surgery lasting longer than 60 minutes
  • have a history of DVT in the family
  • are overweight
  • have cancer, heart failure or respiratory problems
  • are taking HRT or an oestrogen-based contraceptive pill


Symptoms of DVT include:

  • pain and tenderness below the knee
  • stiffness and aching in the calf or thigh
  • leg swelling
  • changes in skin colour

Symptoms of PE include:

  • sudden shortness of breath
  • chest pain which is made worse even on shallow breathing

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