After your healthcare professional or emergency room (ER) doctor confirms the presence of a DVT, they will go over the treatment process with you. You may be prescribed different types of medication to break up the clot and also stop clots from continuing to form. In some cases, a surgical procedure may be recommended to treat the DVT.
Who do I see to start DVT treatment?
Often, your primary care physician will be able to recommend DVT treatments to manage your DVT. If this is not the case, or if he or she feels you would be better served by seeing a specialist, he or she might refer you to what’s called a "thrombosis clinic." This is a facility staffed by healthcare professionals with special training in bleeding and clotting disorders.
If you want to find a doctor who specializes in DVT treatment and management, the American Society of Hematology offers a tool to look up healthcare professionals near you.
Injectable prescription medicines
Often, healthcare professionals begin treatment using intravenous or injectable blood thinners to help stop the clot from growing larger and help prevent other clots from forming. You may receive an injectable blood thinner for a few days before starting an oral blood thinner like warfarin (Coumadin®), dabigatran (Pradaxa®), or edoxaban (Savaysa®). Once the oral blood thinner becomes effective, the injectable medicine is stopped.
Examples of injectable blood thinners:
- Low-molecular-weight heparin (Lovenox®, dalteparin)
Oral prescription medicines
Oral blood thinners are also prescribed to help stop the clot from growing larger and help prevent other clots from forming. You do not need to use an injectable blood thinner before starting XARELTO® or apixaban (Eliquis®), but warfarin (Coumadin®), dabigatran (Pradaxa®), and edoxaban (Savaysa®) may only be taken after you have been treated with an injectable blood thinner.
Examples of oral blood thinners:
- XARELTO® (rivaroxaban)
- Eliquis® (apixaban)
- Savaysa® (edoxaban)
- Pradaxa® (dabigatran)
- Warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®)
Surgical and nonsurgical procedures
- In the case of a severe blood clot, or if other medicines are not working, your healthcare professional may try a clot buster, or thrombolytic therapy, which is given by IV or injected directly into the clot through a catheter to quickly dissolve the clot.
- If you are not able to take medication, your healthcare professional may place a screen-like filter inside the vein to catch the DVT if it breaks off and prevent it from traveling to your lungs and causing a PE.
- In rare cases, the clot may be removed surgically.
- Your healthcare professional may also recommend that you wear graduated compression stockings to help reduce swelling and keep blood from pooling and clotting. Talk to your healthcare professional about how and how long to wear compression stockings.
I got off Coumadin®, got on the aspirin. Two months later, I had another blood clot in my left leg.
See how Bob and his doctor found the treatment that worked for him.