Duration of Treatment
What are some factors that are taken into consideration by your doctor when deciding on how long you will remain on treatment?
1) Reason why you had a blood clot:
Your doctor will ask you questions to better understand the circumstances that lead to your blood clot. He/she will decide whether there were transient provoking factors (eg: recent surgery, hospitalization) or whether there were no obvious provoking factors (eg. the blood clot occurred “out of nowhere”).
2) Whether you have had a blood clot before:
Your doctor will ask for your personal health history, particularly about whether or not you have had prior blood clots including any deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and/or stroke. He/she will also ask about the circumstances that lead up to any prior blood clots.
3) Whether you have any predisposition to forming blood clots:
Your doctor will ask you about whether or not you have had any family members, especially first-degree relatives, who have had blood clots. He/she will also ask about the circumstances that lead up to your family members’ blood clots. As well, your doctor will ask you whether you or any of your family members have known genetic conditions that may predispose you to forming blood clots. These conditions are often referred to as “Thrombophilia” and can consist of one or more mutations in certain genes and/or low levels (deficiency) of particular blood factors. They may also ask you about non-genetic predisposing conditions such as antiphospholipid syndrome, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, among others.
4) Whether you are male or female:
Once your doctor has reviewed the above details and decided that you may require a longer duration of therapy, he/she will take into consideration your sex. There is medical research that has shown that men whose blood clots were not related to a transient provoking factor are more likely to have recurrent blood clots once they stop their treatment as compared to women. In the case of women, certain factors such as age, body weight, the presence or absence of symptoms in their legs, and results of blood testing will further help inform the decision.