Deep Vein Thrombosis - Treatment Overview
The main goals of treatment for
deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are:
- To prevent the blood clot from becoming
- To prevent the blood clot from traveling to the lungs
- To prevent
post-thrombotic syndrome, a condition that can cause
pain, sores, and swelling of the affected leg.
- To prevent blood clots from returning.
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.
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.