Thrombolytic therapy for a blood clot

Medicines that rapidly dissolve a blood clot (thrombolytics) are sometimes used to treat a recently formed blood clot that is causing severe symptoms.

These medicines are given through a vein in the hand or arm. Or a doctor might use a special tube called a catheter and give the medicine directly into the blood clot.

These medicines can greatly increase the risk of bleeding, so they are used only in very specific situations, where the risk of bleeding can be balanced against the risks of not dissolving the blood clot rapidly. Also, thrombolytics are expensive and require hospitalization. But thrombolytic therapy may reduce the incidence of postthrombotic syndrome in people who are at high risk for this condition.

Last Updated: January 5, 2010

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