Deep Vein Thrombosis - A Patients Guide What is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? A DVT is a blood clot that has developed in one or more of the deep veins in the leg. The vein may be partially or completely blocked and this may cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected limb. Why might DVT occur? Sometimes a reason cannot be found, but the following have been identified as potential risk factors for developing a DVT: Previous thrombosis or family history Pregnancy Recent surgery/Trauma Contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy History of cancer Increasing age Reduced or impaired mobility Being overweight Certain blood clotting disorders Why is a DVT treated? To help prevent the blood clot extending To help reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism To help relieve the severe symptoms of DVT To help prevent post thrombotic syndrome
How is DVT treated? DVT is treated using two anticoagulant drugs. Both increase the length of time it takes for the blood to clot, but act at different speeds. It is therefore necessary for you to initially receive both treatments. Low Molecular Weight Heparin: this is given as a daily injection under the skin, for an average of 3-5 days, and has a rapid effect. Warfarin: this is given in tablet form and is the long term treatment. Warfarin takes a few days to have its full effect, so this is why Heparin injections are also given at first. The duration of the Warfarin treatment will depend on the location of your thrombosis. The dose of Warfarin will vary from patient to patient. Regular blood samples will be required daily at first, and then throughout your treatment to ensure the correct dose is given. We will make suitable arrangements for you to have your blood tests. Instructions on how to take your Warfarin will be detailed in your anticoagulant therapy book and will be explained to you.
Leaflet compiled by Ruth Alderton, Anticoagulant Nurse Specialist Review Date: December 2014 Page 1 of 2...
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