Compassionate, Expert Treatment for Deep Vein Thrombosis
Doctors at Loyola Medicine are compassionate and experienced in treating deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your legs or another part of the body. Most often, DVT appears in the lower leg and thigh.
DVT can cause leg swelling or pain, but may occur without any symptoms. The blood clot can block blood flow and pose significant risk if it breaks off and moves through the bloodstream to the lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism.
Deep vein thrombosis treatment is aimed at preventing the clot from getting any bigger, as well as preventing the clot from breaking loose and causing an embolism. After that, the goal becomes reducing your chances of deep vein thrombosis happening again.
Treatment options for DVT at Loyola include:
- Anticoagulants — The most common treatment for DVT, also known as blood thinners or anticlotting drugs. These medicines decrease your blood's ability to clot and stop existing blood clots from getting bigger. Anticoagulants can be administered as a pill, an injection or through an IV. Anticoagulant treatment for DVT usually lasts for six months.
- Graduated compression stockings — Can prevent swelling associated with deep vein thrombosis. These stockings are worn on your legs from your feet to your knees. The pressure helps reduce the chances that your blood will pool and clot.
- Thrombolytics — Doctors prescribe thrombolytics (also called clot busting drugs or thrombolytic therapy) to quickly dissolve large blood clots that cause severe symptoms. Because thrombolytics can cause sudden bleeding, they are used only in life-threatening situations. These drugs are called tissue plasminogen activators or TPA. TPA is given through an IV line to break up blood clots or may be given through a catheter placed directly into the clot.
- Vena cava filters — Used when blood thinners are not working well or patients cannot take them. The filter is inserted inside a large vein called the vena cava. The filter catches blood clots before they travel to the lungs, which prevents pulmonary embolism.
Why Choose Loyola for Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment?
Loyola’s cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked 27th in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
What are the Risks of DVT Treatment?
Doctors at Loyola work to mitigate the risks associated with DVT treatment. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of any proposed treatment plan with you. As with any medical or surgical treatment there are potential risks, which may include:
- Changes in skin color
- Excessive or spontaneous bleeding
- Food and drug interactions
- Hair loss
- Return of DVT
- Skin necrosis (rare)