Thrombolytic Therapies

What is Thrombolytic Therapy?

Thrombolysis or thrombolytic therapy is the administration of drugs (“clot busters”) targeting to dissolve blood clots that have acutely (suddenly) blocked major arteries or veins with potentially serious or life threatening implications. These include:

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Am I Eligible for Thrombolytic Therapy?

Thrombolytic therapy is not appropriate for every patient with stroke, heart attack, leg ischemia, pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis and a qualified medical professional can decide your eligibility. There are several factors that need to be taken into account mainly the time frame from the initiation of symptoms (see previous section), the severity of your condition and your risk profile.

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How do I prepare for Thrombolytic Therapy?

Thrombolysis is usually an emergency treatment. Once you have been diagnosed with a condition that can be treated with thrombolysis you will be transferred to an intensive care unit for close monitoring of your heart and lung function.

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What are the Risks of Thrombolytic Therapy?

Thrombolysis targets to dissolve the clot at the affected organ (heart, lungs, etc). However as the “clot busters” circulate throughout the body any other smaller or hidden clots within the body will also dissolve and bleeding will occur. Bleeding can occur from any puncture wounds on the skin that have been used to insert IVs, or any other fresh wound or injury site. Spontaneous bleeding can also develop:

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What should I expect after Thrombolytic Therapy?

After thrombolysis is complete your doctor will reassess your symptoms and may check with further imaging studies (e.g. CT scan, echocardiogram, arteriogram or venogram) whether there is residual blood clot.

Most of the time thrombolysis will reverse or alleviate the symptoms.

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vascular health

Vascular Surgeon

Dr. Efthymios (Makis) Avgerinos is a Vascular Surgeon, Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in USA.


Scientific Editing

Efthymios D. Avgerinos, MD, PhD, FEBVS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh
Medical Center Pennsylvania, USA