Discharge Instructions for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

You have been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). You have a blood clot in a deep vein. Hospital and home treatment for DVT include medications to keep the clot from growing. Here are guidelines for home care and lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of future blood clots.

Home Care

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses. Your medications will thin your blood and help prevent new clots.

  • Keep your appointments for lab tests. It is important for your doctor to monitor your INR (International Normalized Ratio). This is a simple blood test.

  • Avoid sitting, standing, or lying down for long periods without moving your legs and feet.

    • When traveling by car, make frequent stops to get out and move around.

    • On long airplane, train, or bus rides, get up and move around when possible.

    • If you can’t get up, wiggle your toes and tighten your calves to keep your blood moving.

  • Wear compression stockings as directed by your doctor.

  • Elevate your legs whenever they feel swollen or heavy. 

Lifestyle Changes

  • Begin an exercise program. Ask your doctor how to get started. You can benefit from simple activities such as walking or gardening.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Get help to lose any extra pounds.

  • Break the smoking habit. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.


Make a follow-up appointment with a hematologist (doctor who specializes in the blood). He or she will decide how long you should keep taking blood thinners.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Swelling or pain in your leg (often in just one leg)

  • Sudden, continuous pain deep in a muscle

  • Pain that worsens when you are active or when you stand still for a long time

  • Chest pain

  • Sudden shortness of breath

  • Cough with blood or bloody sputum

  • Bruises

  • Heavy or uncontrolled bleeding

  • Blood in your urine, stool, or vomit

  • Black or tarry stools