The best way to treat a blood clot depends on its location. Superficial venous blood clots may be treated with medications to manage pain and inflammation. Blood clots in deep veins, arteries, the brain, lungs or heart may require treatment with blood thinning medications or surgery, states MedicineNet.
Superficial blood clots may be treated with medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and decrease inflammation. These types of clots are unlikely to lodge in a vein and cause an obstruction or travel to a lung. However, clots located in deep veins above the knee may require treatment with anticoagulation medications, such as Coumadin or Heparin. These medications can effectively thin the blood and may be taken orally, administered via subcutaneous injection or given intravenously, according to MedicineNet.
Blood clots in the lungs are generally managed similarly to those in deep veins. However, treatment is dependent upon the patient’s symptoms and health status and the size of the clot. Patients with compromised lung function resulting from the blood clot may be treated with injections of thrombolytic drugs called tissue plasminogen activators. These medications work to immediately thin the blood and break up the clot. Stroke patients with blood clots in the brain may also be treated with tissue plasminogen activators, according to MedicineNet.
Arterial blood clots in the heart are treated more aggressively, and surgery may be required to remove an arterial clot. Cardiac catheterization may be performed to locate a blocked blood vessel and restore blood flow to it by using a balloon and stent. A stent may be required to maintain blood flow in an artery, or in some cases, heart bypass surgery may be necessary, notes MedicineNet.