Special Procedures - Venous Thrombolysis

A Venous thrombolysis procedure is used to dissolve clots or blockages in the veins of the lower and sometimes upper extremities to assure adequate blood flow and to prevent long term malfunction of valves within the veins.

The procedure is usually only used where clotting is bad enough to cause chronic leg swelling. The Venous thrombolysis procedure involves inserting a catheter behind the knee cap, near the groin or elbow depending on the specific vessels requiring treatment. Various drugs are injected through the tube over a period of 24 to 72 hours, in an attempt to dissolve the clot. The size and age of the blood clot may impact its responsiveness to drugs.

The most common drug used in this procedure is TPA. With the catheter in place, the clot is frequently checked to evaluate its progress. Patients are generally placed in a recovery room setting where they can be closely monitored by the nurse after their procedure.