Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, Blood Clot in the Legs)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Deep Vein Thrombosis Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideDeep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

What is the treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

Superficial thrombophlebitis treatment

Treatment for superficial blood clots is symptomatic with:

  • warm compresses,
  • leg compression, and
  • anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.

If the thrombophlebitis occurs near the groin where the superficial and deep systems join together, there is potential that the thrombus could extend into the deep venous system. These patients may require anticoagulation or blood thinning therapy (see below).

Deep venous thrombosis treatment

The recommended length of treatment for an uncomplicated DVT is three months. Depending upon the patient's situation, a longer duration of anticoagulation may be required.

The treatment for deep venous thrombosis is anticoagulation or "thinning the blood" with medications. There are times when anticoagulation may be more dangerous, for example, if the patient has had recent major surgery (since anticoagulation would thin all the blood in the body, not just that in the leg, leading to significant bleeding issues), or abnormal reactions when previously exposed to blood thinner medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/20/2016
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