ST BARTHOLOMEW'S HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ST BARTHOLOMEW'S HOSPITAL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Photograph of a woman's swollen left leg caused by a deep vein thrombosis (phlebothrombosis): her right leg appears normal. Deep vein thromboses are provoked by situations that encourage sluggish blood flow and increase the tendency of the blood to coagulate; these include prolonged bed rest, surgery, heart failure and pregnancy. The main danger is that a part of the clot may become detached and cause a blockage in another part of the circulation - as in the case of a pulmonary embolism, where a blood clot is carried in the circulation to lodge in the pulmonary artery.
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