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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A venous thromboembolism (VTE) is when a blood clot (thrombus) has formed in a vein. A VTE can form anywhere in your body and block blood flow. A VTE in the deep veins in the legs, thighs, pelvis, or arms is called a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). If a blood clot breaks loose, it can travel to your lungs and cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism (PE). You may need treatment to prevent or to treat a VTE.
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is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Blood thinners help prevent the VTE from getting bigger and prevent new clots from forming. While you are taking warfarin or other blood thinners, you may bleed or bruise more easily.
- Clot busters are emergency medicines that work to dissolve blood clots. They cannot be used during pregnancy or in people with medical conditions that increase their risk of bleeding.
- A D-dimer blood test may be done to check for signs of a blood clot.
- An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures on a monitor. An ultrasound may be done to show a clot in your vein.
- A contrast venography is an x-ray of a vein. Contrast liquid is used to make the vein easier to see on the x-ray. Tell a healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
- Pneumatic boots or pressure stockings may be needed. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots.
- A vena cava filter may be placed inside your vena cava to treat your VTE. The vena cava is a large vein that brings blood from your lower body up to your heart. The filter traps blood clots and prevents them from going into your lungs.
- Surgery , called a thrombectomy, may be done to remove the clot. A procedure called thrombolysis may instead be done to inject a clot buster that helps break the clot apart.
Increased pressure and decreased blood flow can damage the tissues around the VTE. The valves in the deep veins that allow your blood to flow back to your heart can be damaged. This can cause long-term pain, swelling, or sores. A VTE may also cause a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism can become life-threatening.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.