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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 medications to keep the clot from growing.

Woman lying in hospital bed with one leg raised on pillows. Healthcare provider is checking IV.

Treating DVT in the Hospital

You may be hospitalized for 5–10 days. In the hospital, you’ll be given anticoagulants (commonly called blood thinners). These medications control and prevent further blood clotting. Anticoagulants can be given by IV (intravenous) line, as an injection, or in pill form. Bed rest may be ordered and your leg elevated to reduce swelling. Before going home, you may be fitted with prescription elastic support stockings. These help prevent ongoing leg swelling that can cause tissue damage.

Understanding Your Medication

To keep blood from forming clots, oral anticoagulants must be taken at the same time every day. Make this easier to do by always taking your medication at the same meal each day. While taking anticoagulants, do not use over-the-counter or prescription medications without first checking with your doctor. The combined effect of the drugs may be dangerous.

Woman at breakfast table with pill bottles writing on calendar.
Mark a calendar as you take each pill to remind yourself that you've taken the medication.

Frequent Blood Tests

Blood tests called prothrombin time (PT) or international normalized ratio (INR) are done to monitor how well your medication is controlling clotting. Too much medication may cause bleeding, too little may allow clots to form.

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.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 5/15/2011
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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