Blood Clots

What types of conditions are caused by blood clots?

Blood clots may cause life-threatening medical conditions, and are always considered in the differential diagnosis of any symptoms or signs. Differential diagnosis is the list of potential causes of a patient's condition, that is considered by the health care practitioner when caring for a patient.

Deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism

Deep venous thrombosis may lead to apulmonary embolism.If there is a blood clot or thrombus in a deep vein, it has the potential to break off (embolize) and flow through the veins back through the heart, and into the lung where it can become lodged in a small blood vessel, which prevents the lung from functioning. Pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency and can cause serious illness or death.

An embolus is the medical term for a blood clot that has moved with the bloodstream to a different location. With pulmonary embolus (pulmonary embolism), two issues occur.

  1. The lungs' blood supply is comprised and the affected area of lung tissue may infarct, or die.
  2. Because of the blockage, the ability of the lung to provide oxygen to the body is decreased and hypoxia (decreased levels of oxygen in the blood and throughout the body) may occur.

Even if venous blood clots do not embolize, they may cause significant local problems with swelling and pain. Since blood cannot return to the heart if a vein is blocked by a clot, the limbs may chronically swell and have decreased function in a condition called chronic thrombophlebitis.

Reviewed on 7/10/2014
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