PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hospitals talk about VTEs, or venous thromboembolism a great deal these days. That’s because a VTE can be a major medical problem during a hospital stay but it can often be prevented from happening in the first place.

A VTE happens when a blood clot forms in a large vein deep in your body. The most common place for it to happen is in the leg. The symptoms are pain, swelling and redness.

You may have heard of the pulmonary embolism. This is a life threatening event where a blood clot forms in your lungs or develops in your leg and breaks free and travels to your lungs. There are medications that can stop a clot from getting bigger or keep new clots from forming. You can do things to help it from happening including avoiding long periods of inactivity while on a long trip, during an illness and after surgery. By the way this is another reason to quit smoking because smoking increases the risk.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor