If you’re experiencing symptoms of DVT/PE, a healthcare professional plays a critical role in diagnosing and treating your condition. But there are a few important things you can do to prepare for your appointment.
Write down the symptoms you feel, when they appear, and the severity of them. A doctor can use this information to help get a clearer picture of your health.
Talk with a loved one
Consider talking with a loved one about your symptoms and asking them to accompany you to a doctor’s appointment, because their support can be important for your journey.
Write down questions
It’s important to understand your symptoms and condition, so before your appointment write down any questions you may have for a doctor.
KEEP TRACK OF medications
Make a list of any medications that you’re currently taking—including over-the-counter/ non-prescription pills, medications, and
sure to discuss these
with a doctor.
Gather insurance information
Be sure to bring any insurance information you may need, such as your insurance card.
Only a healthcare professional can diagnose DVT or PE. If a doctor thinks you may have DVT or PE, a full physical examination may be necessary. There are several exams that a healthcare professional might use to detect a DVT or PE blood clot:
A medical history is performed to collect and review recent medical history, including medications and surgeries.
A physical exam is performed by a healthcare provider to evaluate signs and symptoms, risk factors, and examine the affected area as well as heart rate and overall health.
Ultrasound uses a device placed over the part of your body where there’s a suspected blood clot and sends sound waves into the area. A computer transforms the waves into an image that can often show the presence
of a clot.
Blood tests look for a substance called
D-dimer, which is released when a blood clot dissolves. High levels of
D-dimer may indicate the presence of a blood clot.
Computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA) is the most common imaging test to diagnose PE. Using a special dye that is injected into a vein, it can provide images of blood vessels in the lungs.
Chest x-rays can show images of your heart and lungs on film. While they can’t show if you have PE, they can rule out conditions that may mimic PE.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a magnetic field to provide images of the lung.
ADVOCATING FOR YOURSELF
Remember, you are your biggest advocate, and taking a few steps to prepare for your appointment can help as you partner with a healthcare professional.
Familiarize yourself with DVT/PE symptoms and risk factors.
It is also important to understand that you can experience
symptoms or have risk factors but not have DVT/PE. You
could also have DVT/PE and not experience any symptoms.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, contact a
doctor or healthcare professional.