Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a condition that includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein—usually in the leg or pelvic veins. The most serious complication of a DVT is that the clot could dislodge and travel to the lungs, becoming a PE. Unfortunately, VTE is common and can be deadly. Lower-extremity DVT has a 3 percent PE-related mortality rate. Patients with a PE have a 30 percent to 60 percent to chance of dying from it.
In the United States and the United Kingdom, VTEs kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer and traffic accidents combined.