Management of deep vein thrombosis

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Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein. A clot might partially or fully block the blood flow via a vein. In most cases, a clot develops in the thigh or pelvis and lower leg, but can also arise in other parts of the body such as the liver, arm, kidney, intestines or the brain.

It is important to note that deep vein thrombosis might make it hard to get around initially. The individual must slowly return to his/her normal activities. In case the legs feel heavy or swollen, it is suggested to lie in bed with the heels raised 5-6 inches. This helps improve circulation and reduces the swelling.

Exercise the lower leg muscles if being seated for long periods of time.

Other measures for managing deep vein thrombosis

  • Exercise the lower leg muscles if being seated for long periods of time
  • Stand up and walk for a few minutes every hour while awake
  • Avoid activities that can result to serious injury
  • Avoid wearing constricting clothing that can reduce the circulation in the legs


An individual with deep vein thrombosis requires treatment in a healthcare facility. In some cases, outpatient treatment might be enough.

The treatment might include medications, elevation of the affected leg and compression stockings. In case the blood clot is significant, invasive treating and treatment are required. The main objective of treatment includes:

  • Prevent the enlargement of the clot
  • Prevent the clot from breaking free in the vein and travelling to the lungs
  • Minimize long-term complications from the blood clot
  • Lower the risk for another clot formation


These medications make it less likely for blood clots to form. They also prevent the clots from growing and prevent them from moving. The body might naturally dissolve the clot, but they do not fully vanish. Once an anticoagulant is prescribed, it should only be taken for 3-6 months.

Compression stockings

These are used to get rid of leg swelling. Most work beneath the knee and tight at the ankle and loosen up as they move up the leg.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on deep vein thrombosis is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how this condition is managed, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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