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Tips for DVT Prevention

 

To lower your risk and help prevent DVT, take these steps:

  • Maintain an active lifestyle and exercise regularly — daily, if possible. Walking, swimming, and bicycling are all great activities.
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine therapy (in patches, gums, or sprays) and support groups can make this much easier to do.
  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly; take steps to lower it, if necessary.
  • Report any family or personal history of blood-clotting problems to your doctor.
  • If you are on an airplane for more than 4 hours, either walk or do leg stretches in your seat and also stay well-hydrated and avoid alcohol consumption.
  • Manage your weight with exercise and eat a healthy diet.
  • Discuss alternatives to birth control pills or hormone-replacement therapy with your doctor.

Your DVT risk may begin with becoming immobile and continue for several months following surgery. However, in some cases, your risk is greatest right after surgery and about 10 days afterward.

Researchers continue to look at the best ways to prevent DVT after surgery. For example, some studies show that using regional anesthesia instead of general anesthesia, when possible, can decrease your DVT risk.

Here are other measures your doctor may suggest to help prevent DVT:

  • Take any blood thinners (anticoagulants) your doctor prescribes before or right after surgery. These may include:Wear a sleeve-like device on your legs during surgery to compress your legs and keep blood flowing through your veins.
    • Heparin
    • Warfarin, which is also called Coumadin.
    • Xarelto (rivaroxaban)
  • Elevate the foot of your bed.
  • Get up and move as soon as you can after surgery, or after you’ve been ill.
  • Take pain medicine as prescribed to make it easier to move around.

Also to prevent DVT, do any leg exercises your doctor or other health care provider prescribes. These may include leg lifts and gentle foot and ankle exercises.