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Treatment for a Blood Clot in the Leg

By Nicholas Ramos ; Updated July 27, 2017

A blood clot in the leg is scientifically called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when blood clots in one of the major veins in the leg, thighs or the pelvis. A blood clot blocks the circulation of blood though the body. This blockage causes pain, swellin, and warmth in the effected leg or below the area of the clot. Fortunately, there are methods of treatment.


DVT is a very serious disorder of the vascular system. The blockage can cause inflammation of the vein and surrounding area known as thrombophlebitis. One of the major risk factors of DVT occurs when the blood clot breaks away from the vein and lodges in the lungs. When this occurs, it is called a pulmonary embolism. Pulmonary embolisms can lead to breathing difficulties and possible death. When DVT is discovered, treatment is necessary.

Treatment Options

The first option for treating a blood clot in the leg is the use of anticoagulant medicines such as Coumadin and Heparin. These medicines are used as blood thinners to prevent blood from building up within the veins. These drugs help to prevent the clot from traveling to the lung. These medications are accessed only through a doctor. Though these medications do not break up the clot, they prevent the risk of the clot from breaking off and traveling to the lungs.


Thrombolytics are a special family of medicines given through an IV; these medicines break up the clot or clots in the leg. These medicines are used very rarely, only in life threatening situations. As a side effect, thrombolytics can cause internal bleeding; therefore it is used in dire circumstances.

Surgical Treatment

Some people are not able to take blood thinners and especially not thrombolytics. In these circumstances, a surgical option is considered. This surgical option entails inserting a special filter in the vena cava, that large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood to your heart. The filter blocks a broken blood clot from entering the lungs. The filter is placed in the artery via the use of an angioplasty, which is a special surgical instrument controlled by a doctor to navigate through the body without extensive cutting or tissue disruption. This is an effective solution; however, medications are the first method of treatment.

Consult Your Doctor

Treatment is a highly personal decision. A patient must feel comfortable with the line of action used to treat the blood clot or possible clots in the leg. Be proactive. Go over every form of treatment with your doctor to decide the best option for you. DVT is a treatable condition that does not need to turn into a life-threatening disorder.

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