Learn what DVT and PE are and what your healthcare professionals may be doing to help you.
Hello. I’m Dr. Rachel Rosovsky. I’m Dr. Geoffrey Barnes. I’m Dr. Geno Merli. And I’m Dr. Belinda Rivera-Lebron.
Dr. Geoffrey Barnes: You’re probably watching this video because you’ve had a blood clot event called a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, or you’ve had a pulmonary embolism, or PE.
Dr. Belinda Rivera-Lebron: You may be scared or confused, and that’s okay. They’re serious events and can be very unexpected. And you’re not alone – up to 900,000 occur in the U.S. each year.
Dr. Geno Merli: But you should also know there are treatments for these conditions, and the healthcare providers around you are here to help and support you!
Dr. Rachel Rosovsky: We’re here from the PERT Consortium – which stands for pulmonary embolism response team – or PERT, for short. PERT’s mission is to continually educate patients and healthcare providers and improve blood clot treatment.
Dr. Geno Merli: This short video series will help you understand what blood clots are, and how they’re treated, and how you can help prevent another event from happening again. I’ll be taking you through this first video. And my colleagues will be taking you through the following ones.
So what is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE)?
Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot in a vein – most often in the legs. This clot can break off, travel through your blood stream, and enter a lung and cause life-threatening damage – and that’s known as a pulmonary embolism, or PE. DVT and PEs are closely linked conditions, so you may hear your healthcare team talk about them together.
There are risk factors for blood clots like certain medical conditions that affect blood clotting – surgery, multiple days in the hospital, birth control pills, sitting for long periods of time, cancer, obesity, and more – so talk to your healthcare team about them. Many times it may be clear what has caused a DVT, but sometimes it’s not understood why the DVT happened at all – and PEs can happen without any evidence of a DVT, too.
There are risks you should be aware of. A blood clot, like a DVT or PE, can threaten your life. And once a DVT or PE has happened, you’re at higher risk of having another – especially in the time period immediately after. They are serious events and that’s why you may need treatment to help prevent another event occurring again.
There are different treatments available, and you may have already been started on one – most likely an anticoagulant, sometimes called a “blood thinner.” Common blood thinner options include: oral medications, such as warfarin or direct oral anticoagulants, or certain injections.
Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, make it so that your blood can’t clot as easily, to help prevent clots from forming or getting bigger.
Among these medications, direct oral anticoagulants, better known as DOACs, may be prescribed in place of others because they have no dietary restrictions, don’t require routine monitoring, and don’t require injections.
Oral blood thinners like warfarin and intravenous or injectable blood thinners also help stop a blood clot from growing larger and help prevent other blood clots from forming.
Your healthcare provider may put you on injections prior to oral therapy. If you’re prescribed warfarin, you may require some routine monitoring and food restrictions.
Whatever blood thinner you’re on, your healthcare team can tell you about it and you should follow the treatment plan they’ve made.
Clotting is the body’s natural way to stop bleeding.
Because blood thinners help prevent blood from clotting, your healthcare team will tell you to be more careful when doing certain activities that could lead to bruising and bleeding, and will go over any possible side effects and interactions with other medications or supplements you’re taking.
Ask your healthcare provider if anticoagulants are considered a safe and effective treatment for you. Studies have shown they could help lower the chance of another blood clot happening. There are risks associated with anticoagulant therapy. So, make sure to ask your healthcare team if it’s right for you.
Your healthcare team is here to help.
A DVT usually starts in the legs.
A PE can happen when a blood clot travels to the lungs.
All blood thinners come with a risk of bleeding. Ask your healthcare team which blood thinner may be right for you.
Now that you understand a little more about DVT and PE blood clots and what’s being done to help treat and reduce your risk of a repeat event, you can watch another video with Dr. Rachel Rosovsky about very important things to know before you go home. You can watch it now – but make sure you watch it again before you leave!
GETTING READY TO GO HOME
Watch a video on simple tasks you can do before you leave the hospital to keep your treatment on track.
Hello, I’m Dr. Rachel Rosovsky. Welcome back! We hope you’re recovering well from your condition and are looking forward to going home.
Before you do, though, there are important things you should know—and things you can do—to help keep your treatment for DVT or PE on track.
#1: Your prescription
You were likely given medicine for DVT or PE to take home or you were prescribed it. Make sure you fill your prescription if you weren’t given it in the hospital and always take your medication as directed.
If you weren’t prescribed medication, have a conversation with your healthcare provider about whether you should be taking medicine to help reduce the risk of another blood clot.
If you’re in the hospital, and haven’t filled your prescription, many hospitals have a pharmacy and it’s best to fill your prescription right away. Or, if you’re at a healthcare provider’s office or clinic, make sure you go to the pharmacy on the way home if possible.
Also, more and more pharmacies have online websites and apps where you can fill your prescription and have it delivered right to your home.
Make sure you understand the dosing: How much, when to start, and how often. If you have questions or don’t understand anything, just ask! Above all—don’t stop taking your medication without talking to your healthcare team.
Your prescription may only cover 30 days, but your treatment may be longer.
It’s important you make a follow-up visit with your primary care physician or specialist to discuss your health and medication—how to fill it and take as directed.
Please follow up with your healthcare team about the details of your medication refill moving forward and the treatment plan you should follow.
Remember: it is really important to fill your prescriptions, understand your treatment, and take your medication as directed—the risks and dangers of another blood clot are real. Talk to your healthcare team if you have any questions!
#2: Make sure to discuss your treatment moving forward with your healthcare provider.
There are so many reasons it’s important to set up an appointment with your healthcare team after you first get treated. Set up a follow-up appointment if one has not been arranged for you—do it before you leave.
Follow-up treatment plans will depend on the person. You should discuss dosage changes, ongoing treatment, and, depending on how serious your condition is, your healthcare team may recommend lifestyle changes and treatment steps you may need.
Whatever your healthcare team’s advice is, take an interest in your condition and follow your treatment plan.
#3 Help is available!
You may have questions or concerns as time goes on. Make sure you have your healthcare team’s contact number so you can reach out.
There may be affordability and co-pay options available to help with medication costs. Talk to your healthcare team and check your medication’s website.
There are many educational and support resources online and in your community for people who have gone through exactly what you have.
Remember 1, 2, 3 before you leave:
1. Fill your prescription at the hospital, on the way home, or online for delivery.
2. Set up—and keep—your follow-up appointment with your healthcare team, and learn and follow your treatment plan.
3. Ask about cost, treatment, and emotional support concerns with your healthcare team, online, and in your community.
You can watch the next video now—but be sure to watch it again when you get home. If you’re watching this on your phone or a tablet, click here to enter your email to be sure you get the next two important videos and a reminder checklist.
Learn more about ongoing treatment—including what you should do and what not to do.
Hi, I’m Dr. Geoffrey Barnes. Welcome home! We’re sure it’s a relief. Now let’s get right to it and talk about some important information to help you with your DVT or PE.
You may have gotten a temporary supply of medication for the treatment of your blood clot, but have you filled your prescription to make sure you have enough—and made your follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider? It’s very important!
If you haven’t filled your prescription and made a follow-up appointment with your doctor, do it now!
It’s important to remember: once a blood clot like a deep vein thrombosis (a DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (a PE) happens, you are at higher risk of having another, so it’s very important to stay on your treatment as advised by your healthcare provider.
Some people need to take an anticoagulant for 3-6 months and some people may need to take it even longer.
Some ongoing risk factors for developing another blood clot, like cancer, require ongoing treatment; other risk factors, like surgery or being hospitalized for more than a few days, may require treatment for a shorter period of time. So talk with your healthcare provider about the right treatment for you.
Remember: while taking a blood thinner medication, or an anticoagulant, you are at higher risk of bleeding and are likely to bruise more easily. It also may take longer for bleeding to stop. You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you have certain other medical problems.
Also, you should not make a sudden decision to stop taking your medication on your own. Talk to your healthcare provider and do not stop taking the blood thinner until they’ve given you their advice.
If you are running out of your medication, reach out to your healthcare provider at least a week before you will run out. Continue to keep taking your medicine as directed by your healthcare provider.
If you and your healthcare provider have decided ongoing treatment is right for you—take your medication regularly and follow the plan.
Remember, for many people, the reason they are at risk of a blood clot does not go away, so the risk of another clot does not go away. And risk increases over time—and can be life threatening.
BUT—thankfully medications, a healthy lifestyle, and understanding your condition may be effective at helping to prevent another event.
Now, let’s take a little quiz to help you remember some important things:
True or false: Once you’ve had a DVT or PE the risk of another blood clot is over.
Well, that’s false. The risk does not go away and can, in fact, increase.
Okay, a second true or false question: If you cut yourself and it doesn’t stop bleeding, you should immediately stop taking your anticoagulant.
That’s also false. Always talk to your healthcare provider before stopping your treatment. Your anticoagulant has been prescribed to help protect you from another blood clot.
Okay, our last true or false question. I didn’t fill my prescription and make an appointment so it’s too late now.
Absolutely false! It’s never too late to make a positive change for your health. Ask your physician, or talk to an online support group for help sticking to your treatment.
We hope you’ve found these videos helpful. We’ll be in touch!
See you soon.
HOW ARE YOU DOING?
Watch a video on things to keep in mind to help lower the risk of another DVT or PE.
Hello, I’m Dr. Belinda Rivera-Lebron. We hope you’re doing well after a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism event. Remember, a few important steps can help to lower the risk that a blood clot like a DVT or PE will happen again.
Now that some time has passed, the purpose of this video is to remind us of some important facts.
#1: blood clot risk is ongoing—and once it happens, many people are at high risk of another.
#2: extended treatments to help prevent future blood clots are available and have been proven effective. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider to assess whether continued treatment is appropriate for you.
And third: help and support from your healthcare team, online resources, and in your community may be available—so reach out!
By now you should have had your follow-up appointment and discussed if ongoing treatment is right for you.
You should have filled your prescription and be regularly taking your medication for as long as directed.
You should also understand the potential risks of anticoagulants—like bleeding and bruising—and any possible interactions from other medications and supplements you may be taking.
It is also very important to remember that you shouldn’t stop taking your medications without talking to your healthcare provider. If you’re having surgery or a procedure, talk to your healthcare provider about what to do about your medication.
If you’re having trouble remembering to take medication or fill a prescription, things like daily pill boxes and medication reminders on your phone can help.
And remember—if you haven’t made your follow-up appointment or filled your prescription, do it right after this video.
Dr. 1: we appreciate the time you’ve spent with us and hope these videos have been worth your attention!
Dr. 2: we believe that if you follow the recommendations shared in these videos, you will help to reduce your chances of having another blood clot.
Dr. 3: we wish you the best. Here is a list of websites you may want to visit or search “DVT and PE” to learn more:
Thank you—we wish you well!
Speakers are paid by The PERT Consortium™ through sponsorship funds provided by Janssen.