A direct drug hit with alteplase busts up leg clots

Published: March, 2012

Catheters — thin plastic tubes that doctors route through the body's arteries and veins — can carry everything from tiny cameras to replacement heart valves. So why not clot-busting drugs?

That was the idea behind a Norwegian study that looked at nearly 200 people who had a blood clot in a leg vein (deep-vein thrombosis, or DVT). People with DVT usually take a blood thinner like warfarin to prevent the clot from growing and to stop new ones from forming. These drugs also keep the clot from fragmenting and traveling to the lungs — a potentially life-threatening complication known as a pulmonary embolism.

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