Deep Vein Thrombosis

How much do you know about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Treatment

The aim of the treatment of deep vein thrombosis is to prevent the blood clot from increasing and to stop it from breaking loose and flowing into the main organs, causing a pulmonary embolism. The important goal is to reduce the chances of DVT reoccurring. It is important to treat DVT to avoid any long-lasting complications that may occur, such as tiredness in leg, leg pain and swelling.

Blood Thinners

Essentially, initial therapy is either unfractionated or low-molecular-weight heparin, which should be followed by an oral anticoagulant drug (Bates et al., 2004). The most common treatment options for deep vein thrombosis include blood thinners. Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants is a very common treatment, taken by most DVT patients. Blood thinners can be taken as pills or injections. Anticoagulants don’t necessarily always break the clots, but they have the ability to prevent clots from increasing and reduce the chances of developing any other clots in the blood.

Blood Thinner Oral pill or Injectable
Apixaban (Eliquis) Oral pill
Betrixaban (BEVYXXA) Oral pill
Dabigatran (Pradaxa) Oral pill
Edoxaban (Savaysa) Oral pill
Fondaparinux (Arixtra) Injectable
Heparin Injectable
Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) Oral pill
Warfarin (Coumadin) Oral pill
Enoxaparin (Lovenox) Injectable
Dalteparin (Fragmin) Injectable

Patients may need to take blood thinner pills for three months or longer. Heparin is typically given within the vein (intravenously). After receiving injectable blood thinners, you must start taking pills such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) or dabigatran (Pradaxa). The injectable blood thinners (anticoagulants) are stopped once the warfarin has thinned the blood. If a patient is consuming warfarin, they will need periodic blood tests (usually once or twice, every other week) to check how long it takes for the blood to clot.

Clot Busters

Another way of treating DVT is by using clot busters. In case the medication is not working or a serious type of DVT or pulmonary embolism, the doctor may prescribe drugs that will break the blood clots quickly and easily. These drugs are known as clot busters or thrombolytics. Clot busters are either given through an IV line to break up the blood clot or through a catheter placed directly into the clot. These drugs can cause serious internal bleeding, which is why they are only given to patients when the blood clots are severe.

Filter

The filters help prevent pulmonary embolisms by stopping the clots from entering the lungs. However, placing the filters can be risky. If they are left inside for long periods of time, they can be a reason of actually causing DVT. Filters should be used short term until the risk of thromboembolism is reduced. Also, wearing compressions can also prevent swelling. Although they don’t demonstrate a reduction in the existing DVT, but they do reduce the chances of producing clots. If recommended, you must wear them everyday, just below the knee or right above it for it to work and reduce the swelling.

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