What are they, and how do we prevent them?
*** If while in the hospital you begin to experience any of these symptoms, you must alert a health care provider at once. If you are at home when you notice an indication you should call your primary care physician and go straight to the Emergency Department. ***
Which blood clots are the most dangerous?
All blood clots are dangerous to your health and should be immediately followed up with by a medical professional but those in the lungs and in the legs can be life threatening.
- A blood clot that forms deep inside the veins of your legs are called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
- A DVT sometimes may break off and travel through our bloodstream and up into your lungs. This loose, free-flowing clot, called a Pulmonary Embolus (PE) sometimes finds itself in the lungs. This is a serious condition as it can cause damage to the body and even death.
Watch for these signs as a serious indication:
Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Bloody sputum
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Swelling in thighs or calves
- Discoloration below blockage site
How can you prevent them from happening all together?
- When you arrive to the hospital your risk of developing a blood clot will be assessed and a number of preventative measures will be put in place.
- Use Sequential Compression Devices when in bed for at least 12 hours a day, more if bed-bound.
- Wear anti-embolic hose, or TED hose when out of bed.
- Take all blood thinning medications prescribed to you.
- Exercise your feet and legs while resting in bed or up in a chair by doing foot pumps and ankle rotations.
- When possible get out of bed and walk often.
What is a blood clot?
A blood clot is made of blood cells, platelets (small sticky cells that aid in the clotting process), and fibrin (a protein that traps cells), all normally inside of the blood stream. Sometimes due to health problems and lack of motion (like after surgery) they clog of veins and cause a lack of blood flow to certain parts of your body.
What is a blood thinner?
A blood thinner is a medicine that acts to stop blood clotting processes in the body and prevent DVT’s and PE’s. They are sometimes given by injection and other times given by pill form. Bleeding is a complication of this medicine and you must take extra precautions to be safe.
FENG-FEI, L., CHAO-HUI, L., BIN, C., & KE, Z. (2016). COMBINATION PROPHYLAXIS VERSUS PHARMACOLOGIC PROPHYLAXIS ALONE FOR PREVENTING DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS IN HIP SURGERY. HIP INTERNATIONAL, 26(6), 561-566.
BLOOD CLOTS IN THE LUNGS. (2012). MAYO CLINIC HEALTH LETTER, 30(9), 1-3.
BLOOD CLOTS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE DEADLY. (2012). HARVARD HEART LETTER, 22(8), 4-5.