Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment
Deep vein thrombosis treatment is aimed at preventing existing clots from growing, as well as keeping clots from dislodging and traveling to the lungs, causing a potentially life-threatening complication known as a pulmonary embolism. There are several commonly used methods of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) treatment, including:
- Blood thinners – Also sometimes referred to as anticoagulants, blood thinners work to decrease the blood’s ability to clot. Although they don’t break up clots that are already formed, they can prevent them from growing as well as keep new clots from forming. Blood thinners are available in the form of injections and pills, and should be taken exactly as prescribed by a physician, as they can cause dangerous side effects if taken incorrectly.
- Vena cava filters – A vena cava filter can be inserted into a large vein to prevent deep vein thrombosis from turning into a pulmonary embolism. This method of treatment is often used for patients who cannot take blood thinners.
- Thrombolysis – Typically recommended after other treatments have proven unsuccessful, thrombolysis is a procedure performed under X-ray guidance by an interventional radiologist. A tiny tube is inserted into the vein behind the knee or other leg vein and threads it into the vein containing the clot. The catheter tip is placed into the clot and a clot-busting drug is infused directly to the thrombus (clot). The procedure is designed to rapidly break up the clot, restore blood flow within the vein, and potentially preserve valve function to minimize the risk of post-thrombotic syndrome.
- IVC filter placement – Another deep vein thrombosis treatment procedure performed by an interventional radiologist, this uses an IVC filter to trap large clot fragments and prevent them from traveling through the vena can vein to the heart and lungs. Newer filters, called retrievable filters, may be left in place permanently or have the option to be removed from the blood vessel later. This removal may be performed when the risk of clot traveling to the lung has passed.
- Compression stockings – Perhaps the most common method of treating deep vein thrombosis, compression stockings are worn on the legs, from the feet to the knees, and help to prevent blood from pooling and clotting in the veins.
When these the use of these treatments are successful, the focus of a patient’s treatment shifts to preventing deep vein thrombosis from reoccurring.
Tampa General Hospital can provide treatment to patients with deep vein thrombosis and many other vascular disorders. To be referred to a specialist with Tampa General Hospital, please visit our online Physician Finder or call 1-800-822-DOCS (3627).