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Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

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Deep Vein Thrombosis - Treatment Overview

The main goals of treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are:

Medicine

DVT is usually treated with anticoagulant medicines. These medicines are often called blood thinners, but they do not actually thin the blood. They prevent blood clots by increasing the time it takes a blood clot to form. Also, anticoagulants help prevent existing blood clots from becoming larger.

You might take anticoagulants for at least 3 months. The length of time will vary based on your own health, where the blood clot is in your leg, and your risk for a pulmonary embolism.2

If your doctor thinks a clot needs to be dissolved right away, you might get thrombolytic therapy in the hospital.

Self-care

Your doctor may also recommend self-care to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. This care includes:

For more information, see Home Treatment.

Vena cava filter

Vena cava filters are used for some people who have deep vein thrombosis. This is not a common treatment.

A vena cava filter is inserted into the vena cava, the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the abdomen and legs. This filter can prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). But the filter doesn't stop a clot from forming.

For more information, see Other Treatment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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