ThrombolyticsThrombolytics are medications that are given to quickly dissolve large blood clots. However, thrombolytics can cause sudden bleeding; therefore, they are only used in life-threatening situations.
Thrombin InhibitorsThrombin inhibitors are new medications that interfere with the clotting process. Thrombin inhibitors are used to treat some types of clots and for patients who cannot take heparin.
Vena Cava FiltersVena cava filters are used as treatment for DVT when patients cannot take DVT medications to thin their blood, or if they are taking blood thinners and still continue to develop clots. The filter can prevent blood clots from moving to the lungs.
(Click Pulmonary Embolism for more information.)
The vena cava filter is inserted (in a folded position) into a large vein called the vena cava. The filter then springs open against the vein walls to keep the vein open for blood flow. The filter can catch the blood clots as they try to move through the body to the lungs.
This DVT treatment does not keep blood clots from forming, but it does prevent their passage from the veins in the lower extremities to the heart and lungs. These filters may either remain in place permanently or be removed later.
Graduated Compression StockingsYour doctor may prescribe graduated compression stockings to reduce the chronic swelling that can occur in the leg after a blood clot has developed. The swelling is caused by damage to the valves in the leg veins.
Compression stockings are worn on the legs from the arch of the foot to just above or below the knee. These stockings are tight at the ankle and become looser as they go up the leg. This causes a gentle compression (or pressure) up your leg.
Graduated compression stockings have some side effects, which include:
- They can be uncomfortable when worn all day.
- They can be hot.
- They may be difficult to put on, especially for older adults and overweight people.