New aspects on treatment modalities for thromboembolic episodes
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Venous thromboembolism (VTE) has been treated with a glycosaminoglycan, followed by a vitamin K antagonist during the past 60 years. During the past two decades the glycosaminoglycans have undergone refinement, allowing for simplification of care for these patients, but parenteral administration is still required. Therefore, the current completion of phase III trials with selective, predictable and orally available anticoagulants with rapid onset brings promise for a change in paradigm in the treatment of VTE in the next few years. Whereas these efforts will lead to further simplification of the therapy there are also trials conducted to advance the treatment by rapid resolution of the thromboembolism in order to improve long-term outcome. Catheter-directed thrombolysis, perhaps also with thrombus fragmentation and stent insertion, if demonstrated to be successful for the reduction of the postthrombotic syndrome, will only be an alternative for a minority of patients due to the complexity, risks and cost of therapy. This treatment increases the complexity at the same time as new drug regimens offer simplicity. This review focuses on the novel therapies for VTE although the new anticoagulants will also play a major role in the management of arterial disease, which will be briefly presented.
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