How Is A Blood Clot Diagnosed
Your provider will ask you a series of questions. If a blood clot is suspected, you will likely undergo one of these tests:
A blood test called a d-dimer. This is a compound released from blood clots. It is high when you have a new clot.
An ultrasound of the leg. This uses sound waves to watch blood flow in the veins.
A CT scanof the chest if a pulmonary embolism is suspected.
What Are Blood Thinners
Blood thinners are medicines that prevent blood clots from forming. They do not break up clots that you already have. But they can stop those clots from getting bigger. It’s important to treat blood clots, because clots in your blood vessels and heart can cause heart attacks, strokes, and blockages.
What To Expect With Cvm When Treating A Blood Clot
At the Center for Vascular Medicine, our mission is to help patients with their vascular diseases in a cost-effective and compassionate manner. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of venous and arterial diseases in the legs, feet, and pelvis. Our world-class providers are the most experienced in the specialty and work with patients to develop a treatment plan that is custom-tailored to their unique situation.
Typically, this process involves an initial consultation and ultrasound scan at one of our accredited facilities. After reviewing the results of your scan and obtaining a thorough medical history, our providers will discuss the results with you and help you decide on the next steps.
Our health care providers use several diagnostic tests to help determine what vascular diseases may be causing your symptoms. Our initial evaluations utilize ultrasound because this non-invasive imaging modality helps us verify our suspicions on whether your symptoms are caused by underlying vascular disease.
Think you may have a Blood Clot?
Also Check: Quest Diagnostics Blood Test Cost
Visiting The Emergency Department For A Blood Clot: What To Expect
Taking a trip to the emergency department is stressful and potentially costly but it can be lifesaving. For patients with deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism , its especially important to receive treatment in a timely manner.
When should you go to the ED?
If you suspect that you have a blood clot or experience any of the signs and symptoms, you should consider going to the ED.
Signs of DVT include:
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
- Discomfort, heaviness, pain, aching, throbbing, itching, or warmth in the legs
- Skin changes in the leg such as discoloration, thickening, or ulceration
Signs of PE include:
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
What can you expect in the ED?
While youre in the ED, you may be seen by multiple healthcare providers along the way, including doctors, nurses, and physician assistants. If you visit a large teaching hospital, you may also be seen by clinicians in training. All of these medical professionals are a resource for you. Dont be afraid to ask questions in the emergency room, says Dr. Jeremiah Schuur, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Since you may see multiple providers, its a good idea to ask questions or clarify things to make sure you understand what the doctor is considering and what the plan is.
Will you be admitted to the hospital or sent home?
If Im sent home, what do I do after my ED visit?
The bottom line
Symptoms Of A Blood Clot
You may have a blood clot if you see or feel:
- New swelling in your arm or leg.
- Soreness or pain in your arm or leg.
- A warm spot on your leg.
If you think you have a blood clot, call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away!
Blood clots can be dangerous. Blood clots that form in the veins in your legs, arms, and groin can break loose and move to other parts of your body, including your lungs. A blood clot in your lungs is called a pulmonary embolism . If this happens, your life can be in danger. Go to the emergency room or call 911.
A blood clot may have gone to your lungs if you suddenly have:
- A hard time breathing.
You can help prevent blood clots if you:
- Wear loose-fitting clothes, socks, or stockings.
- Raise your legs 6 inches above your heart from time to time.
- Wear special stockings if your doctor prescribes them.
- Do exercises your doctor gives you.
- Change your position often, especially during a long trip.
- Do not stand or sit for more than 1 hour at a time.
- Try not to bump or hurt your legs and try not to cross them.
- Do not use pillows under your knees.
- Raise the bottom of your bed 4 to 6 inches with blocks or books.
- Take all medicines the doctor prescribes you.
Don’t Miss: New Episodes Of Blue Bloods
Blood Clots: 10 Things To Know
Deep vein thrombosis can be life threatening. Heres how to know if youre at risk.
Thousands of Americans experience blood clots every year. Knowing if youre at risk and what symptoms to look out for are important to ensure you get prompt treatment.
As a nurse practitioner at the Michigan Medicine Frankel Cardiovascular Center, my heart patients often come to me with questions about blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis. Here are answers to some of the most common questions Im asked.
How Are Blood Clotting Disorders Treated
If you have a history of blood clots, your doctor may prescribe blood thinners. You may take blood thinner medicine by mouth or as a shot . Side effects of warfarin and heparin include heavy bleeding, severe headaches, and dizziness. Warfarin also can interact with over-the-counter medicines such as cold or allergy medicines or ibuprofen.
Blood thinning medicine is all about balance. Your doctor will test your blood often to make sure the dose of medicine is correct and your blood has the proper balance between bleeding and clotting.
A group of medicines called direct oral anticoagulants may be an alternative to warfarin or aspirin for some people, as they are safe and effective at preventing blood clots and do not require frequent blood testing. However, you may have to take more doses . DOACs are most often used in patients with low-risk, inherited blood clotting disorders . Talk to your doctor about whether DOACs may be right for you.
Recommended Reading: White Blood Cell Count Leukemia
How Can I Take Blood Thinners Safely
When you take a blood thinner, follow the directions carefully. Blood thinners may interact with certain foods, medicines, vitamins, and alcohol. Make sure that your health care provider knows all of the medicines and supplements you are using.
You may need regular blood tests to check how well your blood is clotting. It is important to make sure that you’re taking enough medicine to prevent clots, but not so much that it causes bleeding.
How Do Doctors Check For Blood Clots
Imaging tests for blood clots may include an ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan. These tests can help doctors look for blood clots both in blood vessels and within tissues and organs. Doctors can generally diagnose superficial bruises by sight , taking into account any skin discoloration, tissue swelling, and other injuries.
Don’t Miss: Diarrhea With Blood In Dogs
Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A& e If:
You have symptoms of DVT, such as pain and swelling, and:
DVT can be very serious because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and get stuck in your lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism.
A pulmonary embolism can be life threatening and needs treatment straight away.
Acknowledgments Disclaimer And Licensing
This guide is based on a product developed by Ann Wittkowsky, Pharm.D., Brenda K. Zierler, Ph.D., R.N., R.V.T., and the V.T.E. Safety Toolkit Team at the University of Washington, Seattle, under Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Grant No. U18 HS015898-01.
This document is in the public domain and may be used and reprinted without special permission. Citation of the source is appreciated.
You May Like: What Is Rare Blood Type
Blood That Flows Slowly Through Veins
The walls of the veins are smooth. This helps blood flow freely and mix with naturally occurring agents in the blood that keep the blood cells from clotting. Blood that does not flow freely and does not mix with anticoagulants may be more likely to clot. This is why it is important to watch for signs of DVT in people who are on bed rest, immobilized in a splint or cast, or not able to move for long periods of time.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Venous Thromboembolism
There are other conditions with signs and symptoms similar to those of DVT and PE. For example, muscle injury, cellulitis , and inflammation of veins that are just under the skin can mimic the signs and symptoms of DVT. It is important to know that heart attack and pneumonia can have signs and symptoms similar to those of PE. Therefore, special tests that can look for clots in the veins or in the lungs are needed to diagnose DVT or PE.
Also Check: When To Test For Blood Sugar
Early Movement And Physical Therapy
Most patients begin walking or doing other leg exercises as soon as possible after surgery. Performing simple leg lifts while lying in bed will help increase blood flow through the veins. In addition, a physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to restore joint range of motion, strengthen your lower body, and improve circulation in your deep veins. If pain after surgery makes it difficult for you to move, you may be given pain medication so that you can move more comfortably.
How Do Doctors Treat Blood Clots
If your blood is clotting too much, doctors may give you:
Drugs such as aspirin that block platelets
Drugs that block your clotting factors
Drugs that block your clotting factors are sometimes called “blood thinners.”
If you have a dangerous blood clot in your brain or heart, doctors may give you a clot-dissolving drug. Clot-dissolving drugs can also dissolve helpful blood clots, so you may start bleeding .
Also Check: Can Blood Pressure Medicine Cause Ed
What Are Blood Clots
Blood clots are semi-solid masses of blood. Normally, blood flows freely through veins and arteries. Some blood clotting, or coagulation, is necessary and normal. Blood clotting helps stop bleeding if you are cut or injured. However, when too much clotting occurs, it can cause serious complications.
When a blood clot forms, it can be stationary and block blood flow or break loose and travel to various parts of the body.
There are two different types of clots:
- Arterial clots are those that form in the arteries. Once arterial clots form, they cause symptoms immediately. Because this type of clot prevents oxygen from reaching vital organs, it can cause a variety of complications like stroke, heart attack, paralysis and intense pain.
- Venous clots are those that form in the veins. Venous clots typically form slowly over a period of time. Symptoms of venous clots gradually become more noticeable.
Blood clots can occur in many different parts of the body, each area having different symptoms:
A blood clot can be life-threatening depending on the location and severity.
Thrombolytic Therapy Dissolves Blood Clots
Explore how the heart and vascular experts at Tampa General Hospital dissolve blot clots.
Thrombolytic therapy is a treatment that dissolves blood clots. At Tampa General Hospital, our cardiovascular specialists often use this technique in emergencies when the threat of a heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism is imminent. Along with dissolving life-threatening blood clots, thrombolytic therapy helps to improve blood flow and prevent damage to tissues and organs.
Don’t Miss: Thank You Jesus For The Blood
How Does Blood Clot
Platelets, red blood cells, and clotting factors circulate in your bloodstream. That way, they can be right there when a blood vessel gets cut or damaged. When a blood vessel is cut, a blood clot forms:
The blood vessel narrows to slow the flow of blood
Platelets stick to the damaged area of the blood vessel
The platelets release substances that activate the clotting factor proteins
The clotting factors form a net that traps red blood cells and more platelets
The clump of material quickly grows until it’s big enough to plug the blood vessel.
Figure : Illustration Of A Blood Clot
This figure is a drawing of a human body with the heart and veins shown in the abdominal area and down to the legs. There is a large oval with an arrow pointing to a vein in the groin area. Within the oval is an illustration showing a close-up of a blood clot in the vein and the swelling in the area. Below the drawing is the text: “Blood clots can form in any deep veins of the body. Most often they form in the legs, arms, or groin.”
Recommended Reading: Low Blood Sugar Level Chart
What Are The Symptoms Of A Blood Clot
Symptoms of a DVT include swelling of the affected leg, pain, redness, warmth and new visible veins in the area. Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, chest pain, cough or coughing up blood and fast breathing.
Although these symptoms can be associated with many different health problems, if you suspect you have a clot, call your health care provider right away or go to the nearest emergency room.
Minimally Invasive Procedures For Deep Vein Thrombosis
As a first approach, NYU Langone doctors often treat people who have deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, with anticoagulant and thrombolytic medications. However, if a very large blood clot has formed and threatens to break loose into the bloodstream, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to prevent pulmonary embolism. These procedures may also be performed for people who cannot take anticoagulants, or blood thinners, and thrombolytics, also known as clot-busting medicines, because of a health condition such as a bleeding disorder.
Minimally invasive techniques are also used to treat post-thrombotic syndrome, a condition that often develops after treatment for DVT.
Recommended Reading: White Blood Cell Count Normal
Can A Blood Clot Be Prevented
If you are at higher risk of having a blood clot, have cancer, and are starting a certain type of cancer treatment, your doctor may give you medication to prevent a blood clot. Sometimes your doctor will decide that the risk of bleeding episodes associated with the drugs used to treat blood clots is worth the benefit of never getting a blood clot to begin with. In this case, you may be given medications to prevent a blood clot from happening.
If you are having certain surgeries, you might receive anticoagulation medication before, and for weeks after the surgery, to prevent blood clots. After surgery, you might also wear hose, a garment, or a device that helps to compress your legs or other area of your body. Some experts recommend cancer patients receive preventive medication for blood clots any time you are hospitalized or before, during, and for some days after you have surgery. For most patients, taking medications to prevent a blood clot if you are not in the hospital is not necessary. It is important, though, to be checked for your risk of having a blood clot every now and then.
Talk to your doctor about your risk and whether you need to take medications or use other therapies to prevent blood clots. It is also very important to notify your health care team if you think you have any of the symptoms associated with a blood clot.
Finding And Managing Blood Clots
Blood clots can be found after a patient reports symptoms that suggest a blood clot. Other times, blood clots are found by accident when checking for other things.
In patients without cancer, calculating the chance of getting a blood clot, and having a special blood test can often be enough to rule out the presence of a blood clot.
In cancer patients, using these tests alone may not be as accurate and useful. Your health care team will get the information needed to decide if you will need one or more of them, plus additional tests, such as:
- Special blood tests
- A CT scan or other imaging test to look for blood clots
- A ultrasound scan to look for blood clots
Also Check: Heritage Valley Blood Draw Sites
Blood Clots In People With Cancer
Cancer itself can increase your risk of getting blood clots. Cancer is known to be a risk factor for having a deep vein thrombosis . Some experts suggest this is because of tissue damage some cancers can cause that might trigger the blood clotting process.
Any person with cancer can develop a blood clot. But certain kinds of cancer , types of treatment, and other conditions and medications can increase the risk for blood clots. Having metastatic cancer increases the risk of having blood clots.
Other medical conditions have a higher risk for blood clots. If you already have a disorder that increases your risk, having cancer will increase that risk further. Some disorders that already have a risk for blood clots include Factor V Leiden thrombophilia, abnormally high levels of certain clotting proteins, abnormally low levels of proteins that prevent clots, and certain types of gene changes. In rare cases, cancer might be diagnosed by accident during testing when a person has a blood clot.