Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) offers a significant diagnostic challenge to the primary health care practitioner. It is a common complaint with multiple risk factors and the potential for serious or fatal complications, yet an estimated 80% of DVTs are clinically asymptomatic. A further challenge, particularly to physical specialists, is that the 20% that do present with symptoms can mimic musculoskeletal pain.
This case outlines the presentation of a young female patient who presented with a history of posterior calf pain and of investigation for DVT. She was treated with apparent success, yet died shortly afterward from a pulmonary embolism, the commonest complication from a DVT. The diagnostic and investigative considerations are discussed along with risk factors for this condition.
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