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When does a person with blood clots need treatment in the ICU?

Julia Vicente, MSN
Critical Care Nursing
The answer to this question depends on specific patient factors. Most blood clots, depending on location, extent, and risk factors will require some form on anticoagulant therapy unless contraindicated. Contradications include bleeding tendencies, surgery, head trauma, active bleeding, and the use of some medications. There are many, many contraindications. Some patients will need heparin or one of the other low molecular weight heparin injections, heparin drips, or other drips to deal with preventing future blood clots. To break up existing clots, patients might be thrombolytics. These medications break up clots. An example of this would be in a patient with an ischemic stroke within the safe time frame and without known contraindications. Most ICU patients will have sequential compression devices, preventative coagulation medication, adequate hydration, and mobility if tolerated to prevent blood clots.

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