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Blood Clots (cont.)

Blood Clot Surgery

Depending upon the underlying disease, surgery may be required to remove a blood clot. Often this occurs emergently in life- or limb-threatening situations in which anti-coagulation with heparin or the use of thrombolytic medications is not appropriate or when these have failed to resolve the blood clot.

Blood Clot Follow-up

Depending upon the underlying illness, medical care for a blood clot is likely to be ongoing, and repeat visits to a health-care professional will be necessary. This is especially true if medications such as warfarin (Coumadin) are prescribed, since blood tests will be required to monitor blood levels and adjust the dosing of the medication.

Blood Clot Prevention

Prevention is always the key in medicine. This is especially true when it comes to many of the diseases associated with blood clots.

  • Risks of arterial blood clots associated with heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease may be minimized by keeping high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol levels under control. Smoking cessation should be a priority.
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus prevention is a priority in hospitalized patients. Often those undergoing surgery are aggressively encouraged to start walking as early as possible, and medications such as heparin are used prophylactically to prevent clot formation.
  • Travelers should be encouraged to get up, stretch, and walk routinely. This is especially true on long airplane trips or long car rides.
  • Hormone therapy is a risk for blood clot formation, and smoking compounds that risk. People who choose to smoke should notify their health-care professional; the benefits of birth control and/or hormone therapy will need to be balanced against the risk of complications.

REFERENCE: Antithrombotic Therapy and Prevention of Thrombosis, 9th ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest. 2012;141(2_suppl).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/27/2015

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