Regis to undergo surgery to remove a blood clot

Talk show host Regis Philbin announced on his show “Live! with Regis and Kelly” that he will undergo surgery on Tuesday to remove a blood clot in calf. Philbin, 78, reported that he was having pain in that leg with walking. Philbin had his hip replaced in December 2009, and complained that  leg pain in the other leg was interfering with walking : “One of the things you’ve got to do when you get a new hip is continue to walk… If I walk more than three blocks, all of a sudden I feel that pain.” The procedure is described as “no big deal” and the host expects to return the next day.  If I walk more than three blocks, all of a sudden I feel that pain.”

Blood clots in the legs, known as deep vein thromboses (DVT) are blood clots that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when blood thickens and clumps together. Although DVTs can occur anywhere in the body, most deep vein blood clots occur in the lower leg or thigh.

Source: The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Blood clots can form in the body’s deep veins when:

  • Damage occurs to a vein’s inner lining. This damage may result from injuries caused by physical, chemical, and biological factors. Such factors include surgery, serious injury, inflammation, or an immune response.
  • Blood flow is sluggish or slow. Lack of motion can cause sluggish or slowed blood flow. This may occur after surgery, in those who are bedridden for a period of time, or in people traveling in a confined space for a long time.
  • Blood is thicker or more likely to clot than usual. Certain inherited conditions (such as factor V Leiden) increase blood’s tendency to clot. This also is true of treatment with hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis?

The signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may be related to DVT itself or to pulmonary embolism (PE). Both DVT and PE can cause serious, possibly life-threatening complications if not treated, and a physician should be consulted immediately.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Only about half of the people with DVT have symptoms. These symptoms occur in the leg affected by the deep vein clot. They include:

  • Swelling of the leg or along a vein in the leg
  • Pain or tenderness in the leg, which you may feel only when standing or walking
  • Increased warmth in the area of the leg that’s swollen or in pain
  • Red or discolored skin on the leg

Pulmonary Embolism

Some people don’t know they have DVT until they have signs or symptoms of PE. Symptoms of PE include:

  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Pain with deep breathing
  • Coughing up blood

Rapid breathing and a fast heart rate also may be signs of PE.

For more information:

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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