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What Are Thrombolytics?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 27 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Thrombolytics Streptokinase Clots Blood

When a blood vessel becomes blocked by a clot many serious consequences can result including tissue death and permanent damage or even death. Drugs have now been developed and perfected that can be administered to patients who have suffered a blockage due to a clot that aim to quickly dissolve the clot allowing blood flow to resume and tissue health to be preserved. These drugs are called thrombolytics.

When Are Thrombolytics Used?

These drugs are given frequently in the incidences of heart attacks, strokes DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and if a clot has formed in the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary embolism. All these conditions are caused by a clot forming within the artery that supplies the tissues with oxygenated blood. When the clot has obstructed the vessel, oxygen fails to adequately reach the tissues and may lead to them becoming oxygen depleted. When oxygen depletion is not corrected quickly the tissue may die permanently.They must always be given be a properly trained professional as the drugs themselves are very powerful and need to be given at exactly the right time, at the right dosage and over the right duration.The drug itself is given intravenously and is usually given over a period of 45 minutes to one hour.

Will They Solve The Problem Permanently?

Although the drugs will help to dissolve the clot, they cannot be used a method or preventing the occurrence or as a means of regular treatment.Many blood clots occur as a result of lifestyle factors such as poor diet and smoking that have caused the arteries to become obstructed by fatty plaques. When these plaques impede the blood vessels the blood flow is slowed and the a clot can form so giving the drugs may solve the immediate problem and save a life but they will not prevent a further occurrence and the individual is responsible for ensuring that they make adequate lifestyle changes.

Are They Dangerous?

If the drugs are used in the correct manner and by a trained professional they are usually very effective and may save life. It is possible however that the person may develop a reaction to the drug in which case administration will normally cease until the reaction has been managed and preventative measures put in place. It is important however, to give the drugs at the optimal times so often a reaction will only occur after the drugs have been given.In the UK one such thrombolytic drug is called streptokinase and guidelines explain that patients who have received the drug once should not receive another dose in their lifetime showing why it is so important to ensure that the chances of a clot do not happen again.

Thrombolytic drug therapy is given when a blood clot has been diagnosed and work by dissolving the clot and allowing blood flow through the vessel to resume. Not only can this method save tissues from becoming permanently damaged, it is a recognised for managing heart attacks and therefore is a life saving therapy.

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