Treating Deep Vein Thrombosis

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot occurring in a deep vein. Hospital and home treatment for DVT both include medicines to keep the clot from growing.

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Treating DVT in the Hospital

Your doctor will decide if you should receive treatment in the hospital or at home. If you will be in the hospital, you’ll be given anticoagulants (commonly called blood thinners). These medicines control and prevent further blood clotting. They can be given by IV (intravenous) line, as an injection, or in pill form. Before going home, you may be fitted with compression stockings. These help prevent ongoing leg swelling that can cause tissue damage.

Understanding Your Oral Medicine

To keep blood from forming clots, you must take your blood thinners at the same time every day. You can make this easier by always taking your medicine at the same meal each day. While taking blood thinners, do not use over-the-counter or prescribed medicines without first checking with your doctor or Coumadin clinic. The combined effect of the drugs may be dangerous.

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Frequent Blood Tests

Blood tests (INR, or international normalized ratio tests) are done to check how well your medicine controls your clotting. Too much medicine may cause bleeding, too little may allow clots to form. Blood tests are usually done monthly, but you may need them more often at first until your medicine is adjusted.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You feel chest pain or shortness of breath.

  • You bleed or bruise badly.

  • You have blood in your urine, stool, or vomit.

  • Your leg becomes more swollen.