Possible DVT treatment options

Elderly woman consulting doctor about thrombosis

Knowing about available DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein. treatments can help improve the dialogue with your doctor

After your doctor assesses the severity of your DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein. along with other lifestyle or risk factors, he or she will most often prescribe a tablet medication, an injection medication or a combination thereof. However, other treatments as well as surgery for acute cases are also available.

Anticoagulants

The name “blood thinners” can be misleading, as anticoagulants are actually designed to interrupt the clotting process, both to prevent a DVTDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): The condition that describes when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in a deep vein. from growing larger and to reduce the chances of a new clot forming. This is why anticoagulant Type of medicine that prevents blood clotting (coagulation). Anticoagulants interrupt the clotting process to prevent a clot from growing larger or to reduce the chances of a new clot forming.treatments last several months – the treatment is continually administered as the body itself dissolves the clot.

Heparin and Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWHLow molecular weight heparin (LMWH) is anticoagulant medication that is injected under the skin in order to prevent blood clots from growing larger and prevent new clots from forming.)

Heparin comes in two forms: unfractionated heparin (UFHUnfractionated heparin (UFH) is a mixture of molecules with variable molecular weights and biological activity. ) and low molecular weight heparin (LMWHLow molecular weight heparin (LMWH) is anticoagulant medication that is injected under the skin in order to prevent blood clots from growing larger and prevent new clots from forming.); both are administered as an injection.
Heparin works by deterring the blood’s “coagulationA medical term for the clotting process, when blood changes from a liquid form to a thick clot with a gel-like consistency. cascade”, which is the series of steps and triggers that blood undergoes in order to form a clot. LMWHLow molecular weight heparin (LMWH) is anticoagulant medication that is injected under the skin in order to prevent blood clots from growing larger and prevent new clots from forming. works by inactivating thrombin in the coagulationA medical term for the clotting process, when blood changes from a liquid form to a thick clot with a gel-like consistency. cascade. This stops the formation of fibrinA protein involved in the clotting of blood. , the essential component of blood clots.

Watch our video about treatment of blood clots in cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. patients


VKAVitamin K antagonists (VKA) inhibit vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for clotting of blood- thus when VKAs are administered, it takes longer before the blood coagulates. medicines (or warfarinA prescription anticoagulant in tablet form.)

Comes in tablet form and work by inhibiting or slowing down the normal clotting process. Everyone responds differently to this type of treatment, so frequent blood tests are needed to monitor results and adjust dosage if needed. As it can take several days for VKAVitamin K antagonists (VKA) inhibit vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for clotting of blood- thus when VKAs are administered, it takes longer before the blood coagulates. medications to reach their desired effectiveness, your doctor may begin your treatment with both a VKAVitamin K antagonists (VKA) inhibit vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for clotting of blood- thus when VKAs are administered, it takes longer before the blood coagulates. and a heparin prescription.

Direct Oral Anticoagulants (DOAC)

These also come in tablet form and work in a similar way to vitamin K agonists but are not normally recommended for use in cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. associated thrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein.. This is because there can be interactions with some cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. treatments and they are yet to demonstrate their effectiveness in cancerA term for diseases in which cells grow abnormally with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph system. associated thrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein.. If you are given these tablets your doctor may have decided this option is most suitable for you.

Thrombolytics or “clot busters”

The name sounds like a quick fix for getting rid of your clot and moving on. And true to form, thrombolytics do actually dissolve the clot itself (unlike heparin and VKAVitamin K antagonists (VKA) inhibit vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for clotting of blood- thus when VKAs are administered, it takes longer before the blood coagulates. treatments). However, this option is typically only prescribed in more severe situations because the drug can cause sudden bleeding. 

Surgery

Depending on your circumstances, your doctor may determine that the best method of treatment is surgery. Two types are available: vena cava filter and venous thrombectomy.

A vena cava filter is a small device that physically catches blood clots in order to stop them from moving into the lungs. As this is a filter, it allows blood to pass through, but it cannot do anything to actually dissolve the clot itself or prevent new ones from forming.
Venous thrombectomy is a rare procedure that is performed in serious and complex situations. In this case, a surgeon goes into the deep vein and physically removes the clot.

If you would like more details about the particular medicines or procedures available, or to understand more about the risks and benefits associated with any of these treatments, please ask your doctor.

Doctor preparing for surgery

Was this article helpful?

Scroll to top