Thrombolytic therapy is a treatment used to break up dangerous clots inside your blood vessels. To perform this treatment, your physician injects clot-dissolving medications into a blood vessel. In some cases, the medications flow through your bloodstream to the clot. In other cases, your physician guides a long, thin tube, called a catheter, through your blood vessels to the area of the clot. Depending on the circumstances, the tip of the catheter may carry special attachments that break up clots. The catheter then delivers medications or mechanically breaks up the clot.

Thrombolytic therapy commonly is used to treat an ischemic stroke, which is another name for a clot in a blood vessel in your brain. It can also be used to treat clots in:

A lung artery, called a pulmonary embolism
The deep veins of your leg, called deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Your heart, which may cause a heart attack
An artery elsewhere in your body, such as in an arm or leg artery
A bypass graft or dialysis catheter that has become blocked
Your blood is normally a liquid that travels smoothly through your arteries and veins. Sometimes, however, blood components, called platelets, can form clumps and, together with other blood components, can cause the blood to gel. This process is called clotting or, more technically, coagulation. This is a normal process that protects you from excessive bleeding from even a minor injury. However, in certain circumstances blood clots can build up inside a blood vessel and block blood flow. At other times, pieces of these clots can break off, travel through your bloodstream, lodge in a blood vessel somewhere else in your body and obstruct normal blood flow. Blood clots in your heart or lungs, for example, can starve the organ and be life threatening.

Depending upon the situation, your physician may decide to provide thrombolytic therapy, also called thrombolysis, as an emergency treatment or as a scheduled procedure to dissolve the blood clots. For example, you may receive emergency thrombolysis if you are having a stroke. In some circumstances, if you have DVT or a blocked bypass graft, your physician may schedule thrombolytic therapy for you.

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Source: Vascularweb. SVS