This treatment is used to relieve blockage
in an artery or vein that is caused by a blood clot, which has formed suddenly.
Thrombolytic drugs are injected through a catheter directly into the clot
to dissolve (lyse) the clot and restore blood flow through the vessel.
This is often done on an emergency basis to prevent amputation of the affected
limb (in the case of an arterial clot), to prevent death of brain tissue
(in the case of stroke), or to prevent pulmonary embolism, a condition
that occurs when a venous clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs, which
can be fatal. This treatment is usually administered while the patient
is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), so that the patient may be monitored
closely. Thrombolysis is also used to treat clotted veins in the arms and
legs to prevent long-term swelling and ulceration of the leg (post phlebotic
A blockage of an artery in the brain due to a small blood clot. This results in loss of brain function in the area not receiving adequate blood flow. The symptoms of stroke include sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, and the loss of speech.
In this condition, the veins of the leg or arm become filled with blood clot, preventing the return of blood from the limb to the heart. This in turn results in severe swelling and discomfort in the affected limb. The most serious result of DVT is if this clot breaks away from the veins in the pelvis or leg, and travels to the lungs, blocking the blood flow to the lung (pulmonary embolism).