Treatment Options

Treatment Options Performed by Our Leading Vein Speciaists

Your leading vein specialists will give you medicine to thin your blood (called an anticoagulant). This will keep more clots from forming or old ones from getting bigger. These drugs cannot dissolve existing clots.

Heparin is usually the first drug given.

Treatment Options* If heparin is given through a vein (IV), you must stay in the hospital.
* Newer forms of heparin can be given by injection once or twice a day. You may not need to stay in the hospital as long, or at all, if you are prescribed this newer form of heparin.

A drug called warfarin (Coumadin) is usually started along with heparin.

* Warfarin is taken by mouth. It takes several days to fully work.
* Heparin is not stopped until the Warfarin has been at the right dose for at least 2 days.
* You will most likely take warfarin at least 3 months. Some people must take it for the rest of their lives, depending on their risk for another clot.

When you are taking warfarin, you are more likely to bleed, even from activities you have always done.

Changing how you take your Warfarin, taking certain medicines, and eating certain foods can change the way the Warfarin works in your body. If this happens, you may be more likely to form a clot or have bleeding problems. Never stop taking your medicine or change the dose without talking to your doctor.

If you are taking warfarin:

* Take the medicine just the way your doctor prescribed it
* Ask the doctor what to do if you miss a dose
* You will need to get blood tests often to make sure you are taking the right dose

You will be given a pressure stocking to wear on your leg or legs. A pressure stocking improves blood flow in your legs, and reduce your risk for blood clots. It is important to wear these every day.

In rare cases, surgery may be needed if medicines do not work. Surgery may involve:

* Placement of a filter in the body’s largest vein to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs
* Removal of a large blood clot from the vein or injection of clot-busting medicines

Expectations (prognosis)

Treatment OptionsMany DVTs disappear without a problem, but they can return. Some people may have long-term pain and swelling in the leg known as post-phlebitic syndrome.
Wearing tight (compression) stockings during and after the DVT may help prevent this problem.

Blood clots in the thigh are more likely to break off and cause pulmonary embolism (PE) than blood clots in the lower leg or other parts of the body.

Prevention

Wear the pressure stockings your doctor prescribed. They will improve blood flow in your legs and reduce your risk for blood clots.

Doctors may prescribe blood thinners to help prevent DVT in people at high risk, or those who are undergoing high-risk surgery.

Moving your legs often during long plane trips, car trips, and other situations in which you are sitting or lying down for long periods of time can also help prevent DVT. People at very high risk for blood clots may need Heparin shots when they are on a flight that lasts longer than 4 hours.

Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit. Women who are taking birth control pills.