Common treatment approaches for the management of venous thrombosis (DVT) include medical, open surgical and endovascular techniques (catheter thrombolysis, angioplasty and stenting)
Various types of medications may be used in the treatment of DVT. Although anticoagulants (blood thinners) do not destroy the clots, they may keep the clot from growing and other clots from forming. Warfarin (Coumadin) may be taken orally or a heparin injection may be given either intravenously (IV) or under the skin (subcutaneously). Treatment with blood thinners may last from three to six months. If a blood clot develops after surgery, treatment may be shorter. If there have been previous clots or treatment for another illness is underway, the treatment may last as long as risk factors are present.
The most common side effect of blood-thinning medication is bleeding. Bruising or bleeding should be reported to the physician right away.
Another type of medication called fibrinolytics or thrombolytics ("clot busters") can dissolve a clot quickly, over a period of a few days. Fibrinolytics are used in certain situations as determined by a physician.
Thrombin inhibitors are medications that can disrupt the formation of a clot. Patients who cannot take heparin may be given one of these medications.
Vena cava filter
In some cases, a vena cava filter may be inserted into the vena cava (the large vein which returns blood from the body to the heart) of patients who cannot take medication or if blood thinners are not working. The filter is a kind of "clot catcher."