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- Measure calf and thigh circumference daily
- Have the patient ambulate at least 5 times per day
- Massage the lower legs to promote circulation
- Administer intravenous potassium supplements as ordered
An immobile patient is at risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which develops as a blood clot in a major vein of the pelvis or the lower extremities. If untreated, the clot could break off and travel through the bloodstream to lodge in a small vessel and occlude blood flow, causing a stroke or pulmonary embolism. Because a DVT may develop in a large vein of the calf, the nurse can check for signs of DVT by measuring the calf circumference daily. If a DVT develops, the calf may be enlarged with swelling.
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