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Venous Disease


Treatment, Therapies, and Recovery

The available treatments for DVT and PE focus on three things:5

  1. Prevent blood clots that already exist from becoming larger 
  2. Prevent the blood clot from traveling to the lungs 
  3. Prevent future blood clots

Some of the treatments that help prevent blood clots from growing larger or traveling to the lungs include:5

  • Medications such as anticoagulants that can prevent a blood clot from growing or prevent new blood clots from forming.
  • Medications known as thrombolytics that can break up larger, more serious clots.
  • Compression stockings that can help prevent swelling and can reduce the chance of your blood clotting in your legs.

In certain cases your physician may prescribe a vena cava filter. A vena cava filter is an expandable metal device specially designed to trap blood clots before they reach the lungs. The filter is placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC) - the large vein that carries blood from the lower extremities back to the heart and lungs - and remains in place to trap clots before they move further up towards the lungs.5,8

Sometimes, if you have a particularly large or life-threatening blood clot, your doctor may decide to remove it through a medical procedure.

Post Treatment/Recovery

After your treatment, several things can help restore your health and also help prevent future complications or recurrences. Above all, movement is key: While you're still in the hospital, simply elevating your leg, raising and lowering it them, and going for short walks as allowed by medical staff can all help speed your recovery and shorten your hospital stay. 

After you leave the hospital, remaining active by walking and by exercising in other ways will continue to be an important element of your ongoing recovery and attempts to prevent PE or DVT from recurring.  Ensure you follow your physician’s recommendations regarding ongoing medication and wearing compression stockings.

 

References

  1. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism. Office of the Surgeon General (US); National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (US). 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44178/
  2. Venous Thromboembolism (Blood Clots). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/index.html
  3. Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities 2012 Annual Fiscal Report. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/aboutus/annualreport2012/documents/ar2012-vte-printversion.pdf
  4. Deep Vein Thrombosis Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/deepveinthrombosis.html
  5. Pulmonary Embolism. Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/pulmonaryembolism.html
  6. Explore Deep Vein Thrombosis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt
  7. Explore Pulmonary Embolism. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pe
  8. Filter Patient Q&A Booklet; S11832R2