Treatment Options for DVT

Treatment Options for DVTWhen a blood clot forms in the innermost veins in the body it is called deep vein thrombosis. This condition most commonly develops in the legs, either in the calf or thigh area, though it is possible to develop deep vein thrombosis or DVT in other deep veins throughout the body.

If left untreated, the blood clot in the deep veins can break off and travel to the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism or PE—a condition that is often fatal. Pulmonary embolism is especially likely from blood clots in the deep veins of the thigh.

Treating DVT before the blood clot separates and travels towards the lungs is the best course of action to take when addressing DVT.

Goals in Treating DVT

Treatment for deep vein thrombosis is considered successful when it meets certain goals. These goals are:

  • To prevent further growth of the blood clot
  • To prevent the blood clot from breaking loose, thus reducing risk of PE
  • To prevent another blood clot from forming, thus causing DVT to develop again

Treatment methods for DVT are focused greatly on prevention. Taking steps to prevent blood clots before DVT develops is ideal, but if you have already developed DVT it is still wise to adopt healthy habits that will reduce your chance of developing the condition again in the future.

There are several methods commonly used to treat deep vein thrombosis. These are:

  • Blood thinners: Also known as anticoagulants, this is a form of medication that reduces the blood’s ability to clot, thus encouraging blood flow. This form of medication cannot break apart a clot that has already developed in the veins. It can, however, prevent the clot from becoming any bigger.
  • Compression stockings: This is a common preventative form of therapy for DVT. Also known as support hose, compression stockings are a tightly fitted garment that is worn around the upper or lower leg to enhance blood circulation.
  • Filters: Filters are a common alternative to medication for the treatment of DVT. Your vein specialist may insert an incredibly small filter into the vena cava, a large vein in the abdomen, where it can collect any clots that break lose and travel towards the lungs.
  • Clotbusters: This is a more intense form of medication that is used to treat blood clots after they have formed. This medication is injected intravenously and will actually dissolve the clot.

Length of therapy sessions and potential side effects vary based on each treatment method. For example, use of blood thinning medication may continue for up to three months, depending on the state of the blood clot. Along with these treatment methods, there are several habits you can adopt that may help you prevent DVT at home.

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