When you are suffering from blood clots, thrombolytic therapy is necessary for the treatment. Thrombolytic therapy dissolves clots in the blood. Thrombolytic therapy can be given in different forms of medication, whether that is an injection or pills. In most instances, therapy is done for emergency purposes to dissolve clots that can cause a heart attack or stroke. It can also be used in veins and arteries elsewhere. There are different types of drugs used for thrombolysis. It is up to the physician to decide which drug works best for you. Although there are risks to the procedure, it can be a life-saving.
Blood clots are not all bad. They are necessary, especially when you have a cut or injury. If your blood doesn’t clot, you will continue to bleed. Blood clots become bad when they form inside of the body and travel through the vascular system. Normal blood clots occur when the blood mixes with the skin. The chemical in skin triggers a clotting factor in the blood. When you have blocked arteries or aneurysms in the artery, you may also develop blood clots. These things are very serious because heart attack and stroke are typically the results of these clots. Sitting for long periods of time may also lead to a clot. When the blood is moving slowly, it is susceptible to clotting up.
There are several medications used to treat blood clots. Sometimes clots happen all of a sudden and put you at risk for heart attack and strokes. A lot of times blood clots start in the leg and travel up to the lungs in a condition called a pulmonary embolism. With these conditions, thrombolytic therapy is a must. Therapy may be done before the onset of heart attack and stroke or after one. It can be a life-saving treatment.
The medications for thrombolytic treatment is extensive:
- Eminase (anistreplase)
- Retavase (reteplase)
- TNKase (tenecteplase)
- Kinlytic (urokinase)
Each drug is effective in dissolving blood clots. The doctor will determine what method is best for you based on your history as well as where the clots are located.
Thrombolytic therapy is typically administered intravenously. That is the quickest way to get the clots dissolved. The IV line is placed into a vein in the arm. This therapy is done in a hospital. It is a critical issue; therefore, it is careful monitored in the ICU. The heart and the lungs have to be monitored closely. The doctor will keep an eye on your breathing and also make sure you do not experience any strokes. The drug remains in the system until the clots are entirely dissolved. Sometimes the dosages have to go up for the clots to dissolve completely.
There are risks with thrombolytic treatment. High blood pressure is one risk. Using blood thinners are risky because you may have persistent bleeding and severe blood loss. If blood loss continues, you may need a transfusion. You are at risk for blood in the urine and nose bleeds. Bleeding may also occur in the stool. Blood flow affects the kidneys as well. Sometimes kidney disease is a result. Blood clots can block the kidney completely and affect their function. Stroke is also an unfortunate risk. Blood clots are not always dissolved quick enough, and they travel to the brain. Once a blood clot reaches the brain, it leads to stroke; which is a very serious problem.
Thrombolytic therapy is complicated and is not for everyone. Those who are pregnant may not be able to undergo thrombolytic therapy. If you are already taking blood thinners, thrombolytic therapy can cause severe bleeding. Certain dietary supplements may also affect thrombolytic treatment. At a certain age, it is not the best for you. Other health conditions can bring complications.
After therapy is over, the doctor will monitor you for the next few days. The doctor will make sure the most severe clots have gotten smaller. Once clots have decreased in size, the next step is to put you on a blood thinner. This blood thinner is one you will take home with you and take regularly. When you are on blood thinners, you may have to change your way of life slightly. You have to be very careful about cutting yourself or getting injured. Even a small cut will bleed much longer than normal. You can still be active and have a daily routine for working out. It is also good to eat right. That will only improve your health.
Thrombolytic therapy is an emergency therapy used in critical situations. It is not something that you just do every day. If you notice any symptoms of blood clots, you should seek medical attention. Blood clots are dangerous and potentially life-threatening. If you are pregnant or have other health conditions, you may not be able to go through thrombolytic therapy. Although there are many risks, it may be your only option for treatment and survival.
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