Deep vein thrombosis may sound complicated, but it’s a relatively common condition that affects 2 million Americans every year. Deep vein thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein—those that are deep in the body. Deep veins include the internal jugular veins, the radial veins in the arms, and the femoral veins in the legs, where DVT is most common.
Hospitalized patients are eight times more likely to suffer DVT than the general population due to lack of mobility. Other risk factors of DVT include cancer, surgery, increasing age, heart failure, and obesity. But the biggest risk posed by DVT is a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a clot loosens itself from the vein and travels to a main artery in the lungs, which can be fatal. So it’s important to know the risk factors of DVT as well as the symptoms, which include pain, swelling, and redness in the extremities.
Treating Deep Vein Thrombosis
Blood thinners have always been common in DVT treatment. But while traditional techniques in administering blood-thinning medications help blood to flow around a clot, they’re less effective at removing the clot itself. That’s why at St.Vincent Heart Center, we’re using some of the latest techniques to treat deep vein thrombosis.
Advanced Techniques For Removing Blood Clots
Catheter directed thrombolysis is new technology at St.Vincent Heart Center that uses catheters to administer medication directly to a blood clot. With this technology, most clots can be dissolved within 24 hours. Our catheter directed thrombolysis techniques include:
- Ultrasound-Accelerated Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis: A catheter delivers ultrasound waves that allow medication to enter the clot, dissolving it from the inside out.
- Catheter Directed Thrombolysis with Saline: A catheter delivers a saline solution to the clot, which breaks it down so that it can be “sucked” out of the body through the catheter.
- Catheter Directed Thrombolysis with Balloon Isolation: A catheter with balloons at each end isolates blood-thinning medication to a confined area around the clot.
While there are many effective treatments for deep vein thrombosis available at St.Vincent Heart Center, prevention is key. Know the risk factors, and always consult with your doctor. For questions regarding treatment options for DVT and the ATTRACT Trial, contact St.Vincent Medical Group Interventional Radiology at 317-338-6826.