What are the treatment guidelines for deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
The treatment for deep venous thrombosis is anticoagulation or "thinning the blood" with medications.
The recommended length of treatment for an uncomplicated DVT is three months. Depending upon the patient's situation, underlying medical conditions and the reason for developing a DVT, a longer duration of anticoagulation may be required. At three months, the health-care professional should evaluate the patient in regard to the potential for future blood clot formation. If the decision is made to continue anticoagulation over the long term, the risk/reward decision of preventing clots versus bleeding risk should occur every year to decide if anticoagulation is still a reasonable treatment.
There are times when anticoagulation may have increased bleeding risk, for example, if the patient has had recent major surgery (anticoagulation thins all of the blood in the body not just the DVT in an arm or leg). Other bleeding risks occur in patients with liver disease and those who take medications that can interact with the anticoagulation medicines.