What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis?
When a blood clot forms somewhere deep inside your body, it’s called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These blood clots usually form in the legs, potentially causing pain or swelling in your calf. Doctors consider DVT a serious risk to your health because a clot can dislodge, travel through your bloodstream and cause a blockage in your lungs (pulmonary embolism).
Treatment for DVT
At CHI Franciscan, our vascular specialists diagnose and treat thousands of people with vascular conditions, giving us unparalleled depth of experience. Your doctor will work with you to find the DVT treatment that’s right for you, answering any questions you have along the way. Options may include:
Anticoagulants can be used to keep your blood from clotting. Medication won’t break up clots that have already formed, but it can prevent new clots from forming and keep existing clots from growing.
The pressure provided by compression socks helps prevent blood in your veins from pooling and causing clots. They can also help ease the swelling associated with DVT.
Doctors use this type of medication to break up blood clots. Because thrombolytics can cause serious bleeding and other side effects, your doctor will only give them to you in an emergency. The medications are administered through an IV or directly at the site of the blood clot using catheters (thin tubes).
If you’re unable to take medication, your doctor may insert a filter into the vena cava, a large vein in your abdomen. A vena cava filter catches blood clots that become loose, preventing them from traveling into your lungs.
Tips for living with DVT
In addition to taking your medications as prescribed and wearing compression stockings, here are some things you can do at home to improve your condition and prevent further injury:
Exercise can lower your risk of blood clots. This is especially important if you stay still for long periods of time, such as sitting for work, traveling or getting bedrest to recover from surgery or illness. Stand up every hour or so to walk around if you can. If you’re unable to stand, you can keep blood moving in your lower legs by sitting in a chair and raising your heels with your toes on the ground, and raising your toes with your heels on the ground.
Smoking increases your risk of blood clots. If you’re trying to quit, our support groups can help.
Visit your doctor regularly
Your doctor will monitor your health and adjust your medication. If you’re taking anticoagulants, he or she will test your blood to see how it’s clotting and make recommendations on your dosage.
Limit your vitamin K intake
Vitamin K, found in green leafy vegetables, can interfere with some blood thinners, such as warfarin. Your doctor will explain any dietary restrictions.
Watch out for excessive bleeding
You’re at risk of excessive bleeding and bruising while taking blood thinners. Talk to your doctor about avoiding certain activities as well as treatments or strategies you can use if you’re hurt. Even minor injuries can become serious when you’re taking blood thinners.
Know the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism
If you experience sudden shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing up blood mucus, seek immediate medical attention.
Your Heart Care Team
When Do You Need a Heart Specialist?
Your First Cardiology Visit
Recovering from Heart Surgery
Accepted Insurance Plans
Conditions We Treat
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Arrhythmias and Atrial Fibrillation
Chest Pain (Angina)
> Deep Vein Thrombosis
Heart Valve Disease
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Why Choose Us for Heart Care?
Heart Health: Prevention and Support