If you're admitted to hospital or planning to go into hospital for surgery, your risk of developing a blood clot while you're there will be assessed.

Surgery and some medical treatments can increase your risk of developing DVT see causes of DVT for more information.

If you're thought to be at risk of developing DVT, your healthcare team can take a number of measures to prevent a blood clot forming.

Before going into hospital

If you're going intohospital to have an operation, and you're taking the combined contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) , you'll be advisedto temporarily stop taking your medication four weeks before your operation.

Similarly, if you're taking medication to prevent blood clots , such as aspirin , you may be advised to stop taking it one week before your operation.

There's less risk of getting DVT when having a local anaesthetic
compared with a general anaesthetic .Your doctor will discuss whether it's possible for you to have a local anaesthetic.

While you're in hospital

There are a number of things your healthcare team can do to help reduce your risk of getting DVT while you're in hospital.

For example, they'll make sure you have enough to drink so you don't become dehydrated , and they'll also encourage you to move around as soon as you're able to.

Depending on your risk factors and individual circumstances, a number of different medications can be used to help prevent DVT. For example:

  • anticoagulant medicines suchasdabigatran etexilate or fondaparinux sodium, which are often usedto help prevent blood clots after certain types of surgery, including orthopaedic surgery
  • low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) often used in many cases to help prevent blood clots, including during and shortly after pregnancy
  • unfractionated heparin (UFH) often used in people with severe kidney impairment or established kidney failure

Compression stockings or compression devices are also commonly used to help keep the blood in your legs circulating.

Compression stockings are worn around your feet, lower legs and thighs, and fit tightly to encourage your blood to flow more quickly around your body.

Compression devices are inflatable and work in the same way as compression stockings, inflating at regular intervals to squeeze your legs and encourage blood flow.

Your healthcare teamwill usuallyadvise youto walk regularly after you've been prescribed compression stockings. Keeping mobile can help prevent the symptoms of DVT returning and may help prevent or improve complications of DVT , such as post-thrombotic syndrome.

If you're planning a long-distance plane, train or car journey(journeys of six hours or more), make sure you:

  • drink plenty of water
  • avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol because it can cause dehydration
  • avoid taking sleeping pills because they can cause immobility
  • perform simple leg exercises , such as regularly flexing your ankles
  • take occasional short walks when possible for example, during refuelling stopovers
  • wear elastic compression stockings

This is particularly important if you have a pre-existing medical condition, such as cancer or heart disease , which may increase your risk of developing DVT.

DVT can be a very serious condition, and it's important you receive medical assistance as soon as possible. Treating DVT promptly will help minimise the risk of complications.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016