Deep Vein Thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein within the body. If a piece of the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, this can cause a pulmonary embolism which is a life-threatening condition.

There are a number of causes of DVT, including long periods of inactivity and trauma to the inside lining of the vein. People who suffer from certain medical conditions may be more at risk of developing DVT, while the combined contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy can also cause the blood to clot slightly more easily.

Patients, who are at a higher risk of developing DVT, may be offered anticoagulant medication used to prevent the blood from clotting as easily.

In 2012, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) made recommendations to help better protect patients against failures in the diagnosis of DVT. The recommendations include identifying vulnerable patients and providing ultrasound scans and blood tests within 24 hours of a patient developing symptoms.

Madeleine Pinschof, a clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors' Bristol office, said:

"DVT is a very serious condition that can develop for a number of reasons. In some cases, there are no warning signs; however swelling, dull aching pains and warm or red skin can indicate DVT.

"Tragically, in some cases a patient with DVT symptoms is given insufficient or unsuitable medical treatment. This can lead to the condition developing further, causing serious injury or, in some cases, death.

“The guidelines set out by NICE in the diagnosis and treatment of DVT are essential in helping to protect patients from the serious consequences of Deep Vein Thrombosis. Of course, there are some cases where the condition shows no symptoms, and sadly cannot be anticipated. However for those patients presenting warning signs, it is vital that medical staff take appropriate action to help provide the best chance of recovery."