Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Dissolving Blood Clots

Monday, 01 August 2011 08:57 AM

Question: How long does it take a blood clot to dissolve? I've had a total of seven.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Blood clots form for various reasons, and their re-absorption will vary depending upon their size, location, treatment, and whether or not the underlying condition that predisposed you to clot formation has been corrected.

Clots may form as a result of trauma, injury, infection, coagulation disorder, or surgery. The secret to predicting its complication rate and resolution time is the clot's location. If it's outside of a blood vessel or inside a small vein and the patient is given appropriate clot prevention treatment, most small clots will resorb over two to three weeks. However, some larger deep-vein clots may take several more weeks, often three to six weeks after treatment is begun to open back up.

Larger clots may take months, and sometimes if they are left untreated too long, clots can remain, clotted and occluding the vein indefinitely! Blood clots in deep veins are always a concern since they could migrate and break off to the heart and lungs and cause death. If you think you may have a deep-vein clot, see your doctor without delay!

Recurring blood clots scream at me that you need to add some preventive measures to your management program. Superficial clots are usually of much less concern than deep clots that have the potential to break off and run to the lung as a pulmonary embolus.

Please see your doctor. We have a wide variety of choices for clot management, and we can save many people from significant disability, and perhaps even from premature heart failure and untimely death. Management of recurring clots is definitely one of those conditions where an ounce of prevention is far better than the pound of cure necessary when consultation and intervention are delayed.

© HealthDay

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