Treatment of DVT depends on a multitude of factors. The goal in treating patients with DVT is to make sure that the clot does not expand or dislodge and become an embolus. Treating the underlying medical condition is also essential in preventing further formation, or new formation, of DVTs.
Anti-coagulation therapy is the mainstay therapy for patients with DVT. These anti-coagulants work by thinning the blood, so that blood flow within the venous system is not obstructed. If blood flow within the venous system is not obstructed, then the blood will flow at an appropriate rate and there will not be a hyper-coagulable state. Thus, anti-coagulants will result in prevention of expansion of current blood clots, as well as prevention of formation of new blood clots. Anti-coagulant medications may include, but are not limited to the following: Heparin, Lovenox, Coumadin, Jantoven, Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis or Savaysa. The physician will determine which form of anti-coagulant therapy is appropriate. Each anti-coagulant medication has associated risks, and thus must be discussed with the healthcare provider prior to initiation of therapy.
Other medications may be necessary to dissolve the clot, if it is clinically indicated. These medications are known as thrombolytics. Thrombolytics can be administered via IV or through catheter insertion directly into the clot. There are significant risks associated with the administration of thrombolytics, so it is imperative that as a patient you are made aware of the risks and benefits associated with this intervention. Please discuss this with your healthcare provider before moving forward.
If pharmacotherapy is unable to be utilized due to medical reasons, then a filter may be necessary. Filters can be directly inserted into the vena cava, so that if the thrombus does become dislodged, it will not be able to travel to the lungs.
Compression stockings may be used to prevent lower extremity edema. These compression stockings promote blood flow from the lower extremities back to the heart. It is a form of conservative therapy.
Consultation with the appropriate specialists will be essential to maintain appropriate follow up. Each individual is unique, and an appropriate treatment plan should be individualized to ensure the best possible outcomes. Please speak with your healthcare provider in order to ensure appropriate therapy.