Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Blood Thinners for DVT continued...
Indirect Xa Inhibitor: Fondaparinux is an indirect Xa inhibitor is given by injection and approved for preventing DVT’s in patients undergoing hip fracture, hip replacement, knee replacement surgery or abdominal surgery. It is also used in the initial treatment of acute DVT and pulmonary embolism when used along with warfarin.
Blood thinners can:
- Keep a clot from growing or breaking off
- Prevent new clots from forming
But blood thinners cannot:
- Thin blood, despite their name
- Dissolve an existing clot
DVT and Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis
If you have DVT, your body will dissolve the blood clot over time, but damage can occur inside the vein in the meantime. For this reason, your doctor may, in rare situations, recommend a clot-busting drug called a thrombolytic agent.
This DVT treatment may be necessary:
- For larger clots causing pain, swelling and problems with circulation
- If you're at high risk for pulmonary embolism
- If you have DVT in an arm, instead of a leg
Catheter-directed thrombolysis rapidly breaks up a clot, restoring blood flow. It may also preserve valve function in the vein that contained the clot. The procedure is done in the hospital and carries a higher risk of bleeding problems and stroke than does anticoagulant therapy.
This is how a catheter-directed thrombolysis is done to treat DVT:
With imaging guidance, an interventional radiologist inserts a thin tube (catheter) into and through a vein in your leg. The radiologist then puts the tip of the catheter into the clot and infuses a clot-busting drug directly into it. If the vein appears narrowed, the radiologist may do a balloon angioplasty or stent placement to widen it and help prevent future blockages.
Other Types of DVT Treatment
If blood thinners or thrombolysis procedures are not possible, or don't work well, your doctor may recommend an alternative treatment for DVT. These include:
Vena cava filter. This is a small metal device that is temporarily inserted to capture blood clots and prevent them from moving to other areas of your body. The filter allows blood to pass through the vein as it normally would.