people with deep vein thrombosis do not have any symptoms. In these people,
this condition is usually suspected only after a blood clot is discovered in
the lung (pulmonary embolism). Typically, the blood clot in the
lung came from a deep vein clot in the leg that was not causing symptoms.
Heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and Xarelto (rivaroxaban)are types of blood thinners (anticoagulants) commonly used in deep vein thrombosis treatment. Though they're called blood thinners, these DVT treatments do not actually thin your blood; rather, they can keep existing blood clots from getting larger or prevent new ones from forming. They do this by preventing the production of certain proteins needed for blood to clot.
When you are diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, treatment
begins if it is likely that the blood clot will grow or that a piece of the
clot might break loose and flow to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). If you have
a blood clot in your upper (proximal) leg vein, you will likely need to take
anticoagulant medicine for at least 3 months.
After 3 months, your doctor may recommend
that you continue warfarin (such as Coumadin) on an ongoing basis to prevent
deep vein clots from recurring.
Typically, if you have a blood clot in the lower (distal) deep leg veins,
you will need to take medicine (anticoagulant
medicine) for at least 3 months to prevent more blood clots. The length of time will vary based on your
own health. Sometimes your doctor will not start this medicine right away. He
or she will wait 24 to 48 hours to see if your blood clot is growing. For
symptom relief, your doctor may recommend a
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as
The main goal of treatment is to prevent the blood
clot from growing or moving to the lungs. If a blood clot in the deep veins of
the leg breaks loose, it can travel to the lungs and block blood flow (pulmonary embolism). In people who receive treatment for deep vein thrombosis, the
rate of pulmonary embolism falls drastically. For more information, see the
topic Pulmonary Embolism.
Blood clots in the
lung (pulmonary emboli) occur more often in people with deep vein blood clots
in the upper rather than the lower leg veins. Only about 25% of blood clots in
the veins of the calf will become larger and extend into the upper leg or groin
veins.2 Blood clots that extend into the upper leg
veins usually require treatment with anticoagulant medicine to prevent
The recurrence rate for deep vein thrombosis
varies depending on what caused the blood clot and how it was treated.
Recurrence is most common in people who have continuing risk factors (such as
inherited blood-clotting problems) and in people who
have had more than one blood clot in the leg. Recurrence is lowest in people
who have a short-term risk factor, such as surgery or temporary
If you have had deep vein thrombosis, you are at risk for a condition called
postthrombotic syndrome. This condition can cause pain, swelling, discoloration, and
sores on the leg. Postthrombotic syndrome usually occurs within 2 years of
the original blood clot. Compression stockings can lower your chance of developing