Dr. Atiemo explains how your risk for developing VTE increases and how venous thromboembolism is treated.
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The Risk Factors and Treatment for Venous Thromboembolism There are a number of things that would put one at increased risk for having this condition. The key factors include any form of immobility. For example, patients who have been on extremely long plane rides can form clots within the legs. Other things to consider would include surgery, trauma; cancer is also a risk factor. Important for women to know also is that being on oral contraceptives or taking hormone replacement therapy can also increase the risk for having clots form. This risk is particularly increased in association with tobacco use. An additional risk factor for having venous thromboembolism is having a family history of clotting or of thrombosis. If this is present in one’s history then it may be necessary to have a formal evaluation by a hematologist to look for other genetic causes of clotting. The mainstay of therapy for venous thromboembolism is anticoagulation. Often patients are treated with Heparin, which is a blood thinner, and then they are transitioned over to an oral anticoagulant such as Coumadin or Warfarin. For patients who are at risk of bleeding who may not be a candidate for blood thinners, there are other treatment options including the placement of an inferior vena cava filter. This is a device that helps to track clots before they can reach the heart.