Deep Vein Thrombosis / DVT Treatment
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a dangerous condition in which one or more blood clots forms in the deep veins of the body. For example, a blood clot can form in the leg.
The clotting itself can cause discomfort, swelling, and other symptoms. The real danger of deep vein thrombosis arises when a blood clot breaks free. A moving blood clot can travel through the venous system and lodge in the lungs. This situation is dangerous and can be fatal.
DVT treatment requires meeting three basic needs:
- Stop the blood clot from growing
- Stop the blood clot from breaking loose
- Stop the condition from happening again
Doctors will recommend the following options for deep vein thrombosis treatment:
- Blood Thinners – a combination of intravenous and oral medication to thin the blood and reduce the risk of clotting. Usually prescribed for up to three months.
- Thrombolytics (clotbusters) – a more intensive round of intravenous medication may be required if the blood clot does not react to the blood thinners.
- Filters – a filter is installed in the vena cava (large vein in the abdomen) to prevent any blood clots from reaching the lungs.
- Compression Sleeves – improve circulation and reduce the possibility of blood clots forming in the leg. Usually worn for a year or more after treatment.
- Blood clot in the leg
- Swelling in the lower leg, ankle, and/or foot
- Pain that radiates down the calf into the ankle and foot
- Pain akin to a charley horse in the calf area
- Affected area is warm to the touch
- Changes in skin color - skin may be pale, or tinged with red or blue
- In some cases, no symptoms are noted
- Venous insufficiency (your own or running in your family)
- Prescriptions that can increase blood clotting
- Medical conditions such as some cancers, heart disease, bowel disease
- Sitting for a long period (such as in a car or on a plane)
- Prolonged bed rest
- Hormone therapy
- Being over age 60
- Being tall