Treating blood clots
Blood clots occluding arteries or veins can cause severe complications including the death of the tissue they supply with oxygen. A small gap of a few minutes usually exists between the complete occlusion and the start of tissue death, and in this small gap, doctors try to restore the circulation. This can be achieved by:
- Anticoagulation: Blood clot keeps growing once it settles in the blood vessel, and its control by anticoagulation is essential.
- Mechanical removal: Removal of the blood clot is done by a catheter inserted into the blood vessels of the thigh and moved up to the site of occlusion. This is the most definitive method of treatment.
- Fibrinolytic drugs; Fibrinolytic drugs like streptokinase or alteplase act by dissolving the blood clot either directly or through the activation of the body’s innate fibrinolytic system (plasmin). They may not be as effective as mechanical removal but can be the only choice in patients not fit to do any invasive procedure or those choosing not to. It also carries a higher risk of bleeding from the same or other sites.