Deep Vein Thrombosis
The main goals of treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are:
- To prevent the blood clot from becoming larger.
- To prevent the blood clot from traveling to the lungs (Reference pulmonary embolism Opens New Window).
- To prevent Reference post-thrombotic syndrome Opens New Window, a condition that can cause pain, sores, and swelling of the affected leg.
- To prevent blood clots from returning.
DVT is usually treated with anticoagulant medicines. These medicines are often called blood thinners, but they do not actually thin the blood. They prevent blood clots by increasing the time it takes a blood clot to form. Also, anticoagulants help prevent existing blood clots from becoming larger.
You might take anticoagulants for at least 3 months. The length of time will vary based on your own health, where the blood clot is in your leg, and your risk for a pulmonary embolism.Reference 2
If your doctor thinks a clot needs to be dissolved right away, you might get Reference thrombolytic therapy in the hospital.
Your doctor may also recommend self-care to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. This care includes:
- Elevating your leg.
- Wearing Reference compression stockings.
For more information, see Reference Home Treatment.
Vena cava filter
Reference Vena cava filters Opens New Window are used for some people who have deep vein thrombosis. This is not a common treatment.
A vena cava filter is inserted into the vena cava, the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the abdomen and legs. This filter can prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). But the filter doesn't stop a clot from forming.
For more information, see Reference Other Treatment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 17, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD - Hematology