This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Diagnosing and Treating DVT/Blood Clots

During the course of an evaluation your healthcare provider may use questionnaires, personal history, blood tests and imaging studies to determine the most likely diagnosis to fit with your symptoms.

How DVT/Blood Clots Is Diagnosed

When you see your healthcare provider about a suspected DVT, they will probably do a physical exam and ask about your personal history, including any potential risk factors. They may also do blood tests and imaging studies to determine the most likely diagnosis to fit with your symptoms.

The blood test for DVT measures your levels of a protein called D-dimer. High levels of this protein in the blood are commonly found in patients with DVT. If the blood test is within normal range the chances of having a blood clot are very low.

Your healthcare provider may also order a CT scan or an ultrasound. In cases where pulmonary embolism is suspected, a CT scan of the chest uses a contrast agent to aid in the visual search for the blood clot.

How DVT Is Treated

The treatment for DVT most commonly involves administration of blood thinners (anticoagulants), either in injectable or pill form. In severe cases an injectable drug which dissolves clots may also be used. While you’re in the hospital, you’ll most likely get an injection, which will be transitioned into a pill regimen before you’re sent home. With the advent of new oral anticoagulants many patients are good candidates for taking blood thinner tablets which do not require routine monitoring. Your healthcare professional will work with you to find the best possible treatment for your condition.

    This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 13, 2016.

    Page Last Updated: July 23, 2019

    Red button with telephone
    Ask An Expert

    Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

    Get help
    Red button of two hand prints
    We need your generous support

    Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

    Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl
    What is LUNG FORCE?

    LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

    Get involved
    Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
    Donate Now.