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Severe Blood Clots Should Be Treated Aggressively | Deltona Personal Injury Lawyer

Severe Blood Clots Should Be Treated Aggressively

The American Heart Association is urging doctors to treat the worst cases of potentially life-threatening blood clots that form in the legs’ deep veins more aggressively.

More than 250,000 people in the United States are hospitalized with deep vein thrombosis each year.

Previously, there has been limited guidance for physicians on some of the more serious conditions caused by deep vein thrombosis, when blood clots form in veins buried deep in the body. These clots can break loose and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

The statement, published online in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association,” offers advice for cardiologists and a range of other physicians who treat the disorder.

“It is important for doctors to be able to identify the severity of these disorders and to select who might be eligible for more invasive therapies, such as clot-busting drugs, catheter-based treatments or surgery,” co-author Dr. M. Sean McMurtry said in a press release. “Venous thromboembolism is very common, and frequently a complication of other ailments. While most patients need blood thinners only, patients with more severe forms of venous thromboembolism may benefit from more aggressive treatments.”

McMurtry said that these guidelines “are about what to do if somebody’s got massive pulmonary embolism or very large clots high up in the leg,” or a condition that people with pulmonary embolisms can develop called chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs).

Anyone can develop deep vein thrombosis, McMurtry noted. Typically, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism occur in patients who are hospitalized or in a nursing home and are confined to bed for extended periods after a trauma or surgery or other medical problems like cancer, he said. Some people have also developed DVT on long international plane flights.

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are as common as heart valve disease, although the severe forms of these problems — highlighted in the guidelines — are less common, he added.

The statement offers guidance for identifying and treating people with massive and submassive pulmonary embolism (dangerous blockage in veins in the lungs), iliofemoral deep vein thrombosis (blockage in the main vein of the pelvis and leg), and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (serious high blood pressure in the lungs caused by blood clots).

The statement outlines multiple treatment options including the use of fibrinolytic drugs (drugs that dissolve blood clots), catheter-based interventions (inserting a small plastic catheter into an artery to open it), treatment with surgery to remove the blood clots and use of implants called filters that prevent clots from traveling in the veins from the legs to the lungs, where they can cause strain on the heart.

“While most patients need blood thinners only, patients with more severe forms of venous thromboembolism may benefit from more aggressive treatments,” McMurtry said.

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