Understanding Medical Problems

Is Thrombolysis A Good Treatment Option For Deep-Vein Thrombosis?

Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious medical condition characterized by blood clots forming in the legs, arms, or other areas of the body. Since these blood clots can break off and move to block the arteries leading to the lungs, heart, or brain, removing them as soon as possible is critical. There are several different remedies available, but one that may be particularly helpful in severe and/or acute situations is thrombolysis. Here's more information about this treatment option.

Catheter-Directed Therapy

In many cases, DVT is treated using systemic medications (e.g. prescription pills) that attempt to dissolve the clots from the inside. This isn't always as effective as one would hope, and prescription medications often have unpleasant side effects.

Conversely, thrombolysis is a catheter-direct therapy that aims to treat the problem right at the source. For instance, the doctor would insert a catheter near the clot in the leg and use that device to administer medication directly to the blockage to dissolve it and then use another tool to remove the pieces.

The primary benefit to this type of treatment is the clot can be cleared away much faster than when using systemic remedies, which makes thrombolysis a better choice when the clots have become an immediate danger to a person's health (e.g. in the case of strokes) or are so large it would take too long to remove them in other ways.

Another benefit of thrombolysis is it can reduce the risk of scarring that may be present with other types of clot-busting treatments. Scar tissue narrows veins and can make it easier for clots to reform in the same location as a result. Thus, minimizing the risk of scarring is important to your recovery and long-term health.

Lastly, thrombolysis can typically be done on an outpatient basis but may require a few days in the hospital, depending on how bad your condition is. In either situation, you can usually return to your life within a few days after treatment.

Disadvantages of Thrombolysis

Although thrombolysis has many benefits, there are risks associated with the procedure. The biggest one is there's a risk of puncturing the vein and excessive bleeding. However, this can be mitigated by thoroughly vetting your healthcare provider to ensure he or she has the skills needed to perform the procedure correctly and carefully.

Another issue is this procedure is not recommended for all patients. In particular, people with diabetes, severe high blood pressure, significant blood loss, or hemophilia or other blood disorders may not be a good fit because of the extra problems these conditions can cause.

For more information, contact a hospital such as DeSoto Memorial Hospital.