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Keywords

catheter-directed, deep vein thrombosis, low-power ultrasound, lytic care, thrombectomy, thrombolysis

 

Authors

  1. Marchigiano, Gail MSN, CCRN
  2. Riendeau, Debra MN, APRN, BC
  3. Jo Morse, Carol BSN, CMSRN

Abstract

Treatment of deep vein thrombosis traditionally has focused on preventing the potentially life-threatening complication of pulmonary embolism rather than on removing or reducing the thrombus. Although treatment with anticoagulants may prevent thrombus propagation, the body's intrinsic thrombolytic system is left to attempt clot dissolution. Because this natural process is generally ineffective in its ability to fully recanalize a proximal vein, the risks of recurrent thrombosis as well as the disabling complication of postthrombotic syndrome increase. Moreover, the long-term consequences of postthrombotic syndrome include pain, disability, and, for many, a significant decrease in the quality of life. Recent technology using high-frequency, low-power ultrasound, or mechanical thrombectomy with catheter-directed delivery of a thrombolytic drug directly into the clot is available and showing promise. Nurses are caring for patients who receive endovascular interventions with lytic infusions. The nursing challenge is to provide safe and effective patient care.