It is essential to treat a DVT as quickly as possible to prevent the clot getting bigger or pieces of it breaking off and travelling to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism.
Anticoagulant therapy is often referred to as "thinning the blood". However it does not thin the blood but lengthens the time it takes for your blood to clot. This prevents clots from forming so easily.
Heparin also known as LMWH is an an injectable anticoagulant and can be first treatment offered when diagnosis of clot suspected or confirmed.
Apixaban, Dabigatran, Edoxaban, Rivaroxaban (you may hear them called DOACS or NOACS) are oral anticoagulants that can be used to treat DVT and have been recommended by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use for the treatment of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and for the prevention of recurrent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in adults. Warfarin (VKA) works in a different way to these treatments and requires regularly monitoring. People being treated with blood clots or for prevention of recurrance should be advised of the benefits and risk of all anticoaugulants as part of the informed decison making process when deciding which treatment best meets clincal and patient needs.
Compression stockings were routinely offered to patients with DVT to help reduce pain and thought to have helped prevent post-thrombotic syndrome occuring. Post-thrombotic syndrome is damage to the tissues of your calf. It can cause pain and a rash. Leg ulcers may also occur. In a recent Sox Study, results indicated that compresion stockings do not prevent PTS but can relieve some of the symtoms which occur as a result of a DVT.
When used, compression stockings need to fit properly and will need to be measured by your health care professional (HCP). They should be worn every day. Your healthcare professional will show you how to put them on and tell you how long you will need to wear them for and how to care for them.
Neuromuscular Electrostimulation Devices
Calf muscle Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) is a mechanical method of DVT prevention that increases blood flow in the lower limbs. NMES works by placing a gentle electrical stimulus on the surface of the skin, via the nerve, causing the muscles in the calf and foot to contract. The muscle contraction alternatively stretches and compresses the veins increasing lower limb blood flow. The increase in circulation prevents the blood pooling and clotting. When going into hospital, you may be offered a battery powered NMES device called the geko™. The disposable geko™ device gently stimulates the common peroneal activating the calf and foot muscle pumps to increase blood flow. The increase in blood flow is similar to that achieved by walking up to 60%, without you having to move.
For more information on the gekoTM device please click here: http://www.gekodevices.com/en-uk/technology/who-it's-for/