INTERVENTIONAL DVT TREATMENTS
In addition to blood thinners and compression stockings, there are a variety of minimally invasive procedures used to treat DVT that may help relieve symptoms and reduce your risk for long-term complications such as post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). Your doctor will recommend the right treatment or combination of treatments for you based on your age and overall health, as well as the size, location, and age of your blood clot.
IV clot busters, or thrombolytics, are medications placed directly into the clot during a minimally invasive procedure. They’re designed to quickly dissolve clots, restore blood flow, and may help prevent damage to the valves in your vein, which can cause post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS).
To administer clot busters, your doctor may sedate you before making a small incision in your groin, wrist, or other location. Your doctor will then use a small tube called a catheter to deliver medication directly into the clot. Since IV clot busters may cause serious bleeding, they’re usually administered in a hospital or other setting where you can be closely monitored. The procedure comes with risks and isn’t right for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor to find out if you’re a candidate.
Unlike blood thinners, IV clot busters and mechanical thrombectomy are designed to remove or dissolve your blood clot
Mechanical thrombectomy devices are special catheters designed to help break up and physically remove all or portions of the blood clot during a minimally invasive procedure. A mechanical thrombectomy procedure can help to quickly restore blood flow, reduce the amount and duration of medications you have to take, and may help prevent damage to the valves in your vein, which can cause post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS).
In a mechanical thrombectomy procedure, your doctor may sedate you before making a small incision in your groin, wrist, or other location. The doctor will then insert a specialized tube-like catheter into your veins to access and treat the clot. Your doctor may also deliver IV clot buster medicines during the procedure.
These procedures come with risks and aren’t right for everyone. Be sure to talk to your doctor to find out if they may be right for you.
Many DVT blood clots will be absorbed by your body over time with the help of blood thinners. But in the meantime, the clot can cause permanent damage to the valves in your vein, resulting in a condition known as post-thrombotic syndrome, which causes chronic pain and swelling. Mechanical thrombectomy and IV clot busters may help reduce your risk of developing PTS.
If you can’t take blood thinners, your doctor may insert a filter using a catheter into a large vein called the Inferior Vena Cava. This is the main vein that takes blood from your lower body to your heart. While the small metal filter won’t stop new clots from forming, it is intended to catch blood clots and stop them from entering your lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism, a serious and potentially deadly complication of DVT.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Venous Thromboembolism (Blood Clots). Data & Statistics. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/data.html. Accessed October 5, 2015.
- Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education. Venous Thromboembolism (Deep Venous Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolism). http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/cardiology/venous-thromboembolism/. Accessed October 19, 2015.