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Burnley woman helps to raise awareness of DVT following her own experience

Through the Lens

A WOMAN, who experienced a serious Deep Vein Thrombosis following a knee operation, is raising awareness of the signs and symptoms to look out for during DVT month (March 1 – 31).

Hockey player Diane Calvert, from Burnley, had a routine knee operation in 2012 to repair her cartilage and clean out her left knee ready for a ligament transplant following an injury.

The morning after she had two tiny pin pricks on her shin which were red and hot but thought nothing of it. She was up walking after a couple of days, and everything seemed good.

On day four, she started to experience flu like symptoms and after a few days, she felt better but her leg had become red around the whole of her lower leg and her ankle was swelling.

She couldn’t stand up for more than 10 seconds and was exhausted but thought it was linked to her operation so decided to wait until her follow up appointment with the doctor 3 weeks after her operation.

When she went to see the consultant, he told her she had a serious Deep Vein Thrombosis stretching from her ankle right up to my abdomen area and was prescribed injection anti-coagulants.

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Most clots occur in the lower leg or thigh. They can break off and travel through the bloodstream. Thrombosis remains a major cause of death in the UK, yet many people have little or no understanding about the causes and effects of thrombosis, and how it can be prevented.

The most common risk factors for thrombosis are:

• Hospitalization for illness or surgery
• Major surgery, particularly of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, knee
• Severe trauma, such as a car accident
• Injury to a vein that may have been caused by a broken bone or severe muscle injury
• Hip or knee replacement surgery

These symptoms of a blood clot may feel similar to a pulled muscle, although they may also be accompanied by other symptoms that include:

• Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm)
• Leg pain or tenderness
• Reddish / blue skin discoloration
• Leg (or arm) warm to touch

Diane was shocked following her DVT as it was not something she had been advised to look out for. She now has to take anti-coagulant medication for the rest of my life due to the damage the DVT caused.

She said: “Whilst mine was a very unusual case because of the seriousness of it, it could have been avoided or treated earlier if I had known what to look out for. As a result, I have had to change my job, as used to be on my feet all day. I can no longer play hockey which I am devastated about.”

Diane did discover Thrombosis UK, a national charity which helps people and their families who have experienced DVT. She now raises money for them and since taking up hiking, she has even climbed the Yorkshire Three Peaks, National Three Peaks and Ben Nevis which she did for Thrombosis UK.

She also featured in the charity’s campaign Through the Lens, which is aimed at raising awareness of the condition and the signs and symptoms of a DVT and shows that DVT’s don’t discriminate and you can clot anywhere.

Jo Jerrome, CEO Thrombosis UK, said: “Although many are unaware, a significant risk factor for thrombosis is admission to hospital, and this risk remains for up to 90 days after discharge. It is vital that everyone admitted to hospital is given written information about thrombosis, has opportunity to discuss this and is aware of how to help to reduce their risk, and of the possible signs and symptoms to be aware of.

“In 2019 the charity published an information booklet, ‘Lowering your risk of blood clots’. This booklet is intended to be a resource for hospitals to share and discuss with every patient, so that so that patients and their family/friends, are aware of thrombosis and understand the importance of seeking urgent medical attention if they develop any of the signs or symptoms.

“Many thrombotic events could be avoided, and we are indebted to Diane for her support in raising awareness of this potentially life-threatening condition

“Anyone can be at risk of thrombosis, it is so important for us all to ‘Think Thrombosis’ – awareness really does save lives.”

For further information, log onto https://thrombosisuk.org/