Blood Thinners and DVT

Blood Thinners Help Prevent DVTFor some, varicose veins can be more than unsightly cosmetic concerns—they may be a signal to future life-threatening blood clots. Varicose veins can predispose certain individuals to a condition known as superficial vein thrombosis (SVT). If left untreated, SVT can result in deep vein thrombosis (DVT) making treatments for DVT such as blood thinners or filters necessary.

DVT is a condition that develops due to the presence of blood clots most commonly within the deep veins of the legs. Left untreated, DVT can lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism or blockage in one or more arteries in the lungs. Typically, vein specialists have three main goals in mind when treating an individual for deep vein thrombosis:

  • Preventing the blood clot from growing larger
  • Stopping the blood clot from breaking loose and triggering a pulmonary embolism
  • Decreasing the chances of DVT happening again

Blood thinners, also known as anti-coagulants, are medications commonly used for treating DVT. Though blood thinners are unable to break up present blood clots within the veins, they are useful for preventing existing clots from growing larger as well as slowing the formation of future clots.

Comprehensive DVT Treatment via Blood Thinners

Blood thinners are available to those with an increased risk of DVT in both injectable and pill form. Oftentimes, a comprehensive treatment plan for DVT will incorporate a combination of both forms of medication. The injectable form of blood thinner is referred to as Heparin while the pill form of blood thinner is known as Warfarin (Coumadin). In many cases, comprehensive treatment will commence with Heparin injections. After receiving the anti-coagulant for several days via injections, patients will then shift to Warfarin and begin receiving medication in pill form. Vein specialists will determine the amount of time a patient will receive both forms of blood thinning medication.

Heparin Injections

Heparin is normally administered to a patient by means of an IV while in hospital and may be continued after discharge from the hospital through self-administered injections at home. Patients will self-administer low molecular weight heparin at-home once or twice a day as directed by their vein specialist. It is very important to follow your vein specialist’s instructions exactly as the side effects of incorrectly administering heparin can be serious. The new forms of heparin intended for self-administration are more predictable than previously available which reduces the need for routine blood tests.

Warfarin Medication

Patients being treated for DVT will often be prescribed the blood thinning medication Warfarin. It is usual for patients to take Warfarin and heparin at the same time in the initial stages as Warfarin takes several days to reach a therapeutic level and begin acting. Depending on each individual case, a vein specialist might recommend Warfarin treatment for a patient for anywhere from three to six months. When undergoing Warfarin treatment, patients are required to maintain routine blood tests so their physician can monitor the amount of time it takes for their blood to clot.

When undergoing treatment for DVT via blood thinners, patients must strictly follow their vein specialist’s instructions as taking too much medication can lead to an increased risk of bleeding while too low a dose is ineffective in preventing DVT formation.

Because varicose veins may be associated with more serious conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, it’s best to seek a medical consultation with your vein specialist in Atlanta or Marietta if you’re experiencing painful and swollen veins of any kind.

 

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