March 24, 2011

Treating Dangerous Clots

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- In a new statement, the American Heart Association encourages doctors to consider other therapies in addition to blood thinners to treat certain patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

More than 250,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year with DVT. The condition causes potentially dangerous blood clots that form in the deep veins and can travel to the lungs.

The new statement offers advice for cardiologists and other physicians who treat the disorder. It outlines multiple treatment options including the use of fibrinolytic drugs to dissolve blood clots, catheter-based treatments to open arteries, surgery to remove blood clots, and the use of implants called filters to prevent clots from traveling from the legs to the lungs.

"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," M. Sean McMurtry, M.D., Ph. D., co-chair of statement writing group, was quoted as saying.

"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."

SOURCE: Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, March 21, 2011