What Is the Treatment for a Blood Clot in Your Leg?

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According to MedlinePlus, a blood clot in the leg, also known as a deep vein thrombosis, is treated with anticoagulants, blood thinners, pressure stockings or surgery. Wikipedia also lists exercise, aspirin and intermittent pneumatic compression as possible treatment options.

MedlinePlus explains that blood clots, or DVTs, which lodge in the larger veins of the lower legs, pelvis or thighs, can limit the blood flowing back to the heart and lungs. Blood clots in the legs can cause pain and swelling and, if they break loose, can cause serious damage or death. This condition is called venous thromboembolism.

According to MedlinePlus, anticoagulants prevent existing blood clots from enlarging and new blood clots from forming. One common anticoagulant is heparin, which is given intravenously in the hospital or by daily injections.

Blood thinners, such as warfarin, are taken orally. According to ClotCare, warfarin works by inhibiting the liver’s ability produce blood-clotting proteins. Missing or doubling up on doses of warfarin can create a dangerous condition. If the scheduled dose is not taken on time, patients are advised to consult a physician.

Wikipedia states that intermittent pneumatic compression works by forcing pressurized air into a plastic sleeve worn around the limb, which temporarily squeezes the area and helps the blood to circulate. According to MedlinePlus, if other treatments do not work, surgery may be required to remove the clot or to implant a device that prevents thromboembolisms.