It's sometimes possible to treat arterial thrombosis with medication or surgery.


In some cases, a type of medication called a thrombolytic can beusedto dissolve blood clots and restore the blood flow in an artery. Examples of thrombolytic medicines include alteplase and reteplase.

These medicines aremost effective if they're used as soon as possible after a heart attack or stroke starts.


Surgery for arterial thrombosis involves unblocking the affected artery or re-routing the flow of blood around the blockage. The type of surgery used will depend on the location and severity of your condition.

For example, you may need heart surgery if the blood clot is in an artery that supplies blood to your heart. Operations used to treat this include:

  • coronary stent placement where a balloon is inflated in a blocked artery (angioplasty) to allow a hollow metal tube called a stent to be used to widen the artery and stop it from becoming blocked again
  • coronary artery bypass graft where a blood vessel taken from another part of the body is used to bypass the point of the blockage

If you have a blood clot in your neck, you may have a type of surgery called carotid endarterectomy. During this operation,the surgeon makes a cut in your neck to open up the artery and remove the fatty deposits.

Clepidogrel, aspirin, acenocumarol, warfarin, are all courses of medication that may be employed under strict observation following the appropriate examinations.

The use of surgery

Surgery is the indicated method in several cases. If there is blockage of the arteries of the heart, an intervention is necessary in order to remove the clot.

Other procedures include:

  1. A metal plaque may be placed in the artery in order to widen the lumen of the artery and restore normal circulation. The device is called a stent, and it is usually inserted via an apparatus which is introduced from the femoral vein and pushed up until the damaged blood vessel in the heart.
  2. A coronary by-pass; which is done by extracting a piece of artery from another part of the body and implanting it in the heart. In this way the piece of artery can bypass the damaged part of the vessel. If an artery of the neck becomes blocked then a type of surgery called endarterectomy.

Treatments for arterial thrombosis

If you develop arterial thrombosis, it may need to be treated with medication or surgery.

Treatments include:

  • injections of a medicine called a thrombolytic that can dissolve some blood clots
  • an operation to remove the clot (embolectomy)
  • an operation to widen the affected artery – for example, an angioplasty (where a hollow tube is placed in the artery to hold it open)
  • surgery to divert blood around the blocked artery – for example, a coronary artery bypass graft(where a blood vessel taken from another part of the body is used to bypass a blockage in the artery that supplies the heart muscle)

Other types of blood clot

As well as arterial thrombosis, there are several other types of blood clot, including:

  • venous thromboembolism (VTE) – a blood clot in a vein
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot in one of the deep veins in the body, usually in the leg
  • embolism – where the blood flow in an artery is blocked by a foreign body; this can be a blood clot or something else such as an air bubble
  • pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in the pulmonary artery, which transports blood from the heart to the lungs
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 2 Feb 2018