Thrombolysis is a treatment for an acute clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis-DVT) or lung (pulmonary embolism-PE). A blood clot in a deep vein can break off and travel through the bloodstream to an artery in the lungs and block blood flow there, resulting in a PE. Thrombolysis is a way of removing the clot by dissolution. A blood-clot-dissolving medicine is delivered directly into the clot by a catheter placed through a puncture in the skin and directed through the vein to the clot by x-ray imaging. It requires hospitalization, close observation, and usually several other procedures for complete clot removal. Other means of treating DVT-PE are to mechanically break apart and remove the clot via a catheter; remove it directly through surgery; and, for DVT patients who cannot take blood-thinning medications, a vena cava filter. Patients should undergo a DVT-PE risk assessment prior to entering potential high-risk situations such as major operations, periods of immobility, prolonged travel, and hospitalizations. Risk factors also include advanced age, family history, prior clotting episodes, hormonal changes, malignancy, obesity, and serious injury. Of the two million Americans with DVT nearly six percent die within one month of diagnosis, primarily due to PE.


UAB Medicine’s vascular specialists provide expert treatment of all types of circulatory conditions using a broad range of services, including medical therapy, minimally invasive endovascular procedures, and open surgical reconstruction. Our specialty-trained surgeons and physicians are leaders in their field and have excellent track records in treating some of the most complex vascular diseases and conditions. That expertise is backed by the latest and most advanced technology, facilities, and treatment options, as well as our dedication to patient-centered care. A wide range of specialists work together through the UAB Advanced Limb Preservation program to prevent the need for amputation, preserve maximum function in the lower limbs in people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), and treat associated medical conditions such as diabetes.

Our vascular experts confer extensively with each patient to determine a specific diagnosis and treatment plan based on medical history, physical exam, and a variety of non-invasive testing that includes ultrasound, Doppler with plethysmography, CT scans, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). We also employ three-dimensional overlay fusion technology, in which pre-operative imaging is overlaid with images captured during surgery, providing greater accuracy and improved outcomes. In addition, we maintain an operating room designed specifically for vascular therapies, where we perform “hybrid” procedures that combine both open surgery and minimally invasive endovascular techniques and maximize the benefits of both.

As a major academic medical center, UAB maintains an active research program that also manages clinical trials. Our commitment to innovation and discovery often means that patients have access to advanced new treatments long before they are available to the general public.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials