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International Angiology 2015 February;34(1):16-29


language: English

Effective management of acute deep vein thrombosis: direct oral anticoagulants

Roussin A.

Internal and Vascular Medicine, Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a manifestation of venous thromboembolism (VTE) and accounts for most venous thromboembolic events. Although DVT is not directly life-threatening, thrombi in the proximal veins of the leg can embolize to the lungs to form a pulmonary embolism, which may prove rapidly fatal. If untreated, DVT can also lead to significant morbidity, including development of post-thrombotic syndrome. Among many risk factors, surgery, hospitalization, older age and active cancer increase the risk of VTE, and a previous event increases the risk of recurrence. Early detection and effective clot resolution are vital in managing DVT. Conventional approaches to acute treatment of VTE involve initial fast-acting parenteral heparin overlapping with and followed by vitamin K antagonist therapy. However, vitamin K antagonists have a narrow therapeutic window, require regular monitoring, and have multiple food and drug interactions. Results from phase III clinical studies involving direct Factor Xa and IIa inhibitors suggest that these agents provide an alternative therapeutic option that overcomes some of the complications associated with conventional treatment with predictable pharmacological properties and convenient dosing schedules. Analysis of data from the rivaroxaban EINSTEIN studies also suggests that these agents have the potential to improve patient-reported treatment satisfaction and reduce the length of hospital stay compared with conventional therapy. This review considers these treatment options, suitable treatment durations to prevent recurrence, and the management of DVT treatment in challenging patient groups.

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