Our Thrombosis Experts Answer Your Clotting Questions

What are the symptoms of a blood clot?

The symptoms of a thrombotic episode relate to the location and size of the blood clot and whether the clot embolizes.

Some of the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath

  • Sharp chest pain

  • Rapid heart rate

  • unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus

Symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis in the legs include:

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Redness in the affected area

Individuals who experience an ischemic stroke, or clot in the brain, may have a sudden headache, facial or limb numbness, and weakness or paralysis, particularly on one side of their body. Difficulty with vision, walking, or maintaining balance also may occur. An individual with a stroke may appear to be confused and sometimes may experience a seizure or lose consciousness.

I had a large deep vein thrombosis a few months ago. Is it normal for me to still have symptoms of swelling, pain, changes in skin color, and varicose veins months after the clot?

Symptoms of chronic swelling, swelling withstanding, redness, enlarged blood vessels, and pain are relatively common after a significant blood clot has occurred.

These symptoms are collectively referred to as post-thrombotic syndrome. This syndrome may be present for months after the development of a clot or may become chronic if the first clot was large or if repeated clots occur.

Patients can manage post-thrombotic syndrome symptoms by:

  • Using a compression garment, often prescribed by a doctor to provide a specific amount of pressure

  • Standing and moving on a regular basis to encourage and maintain blood flow (patients should talk to their healthcare provider regarding appropriate exercises)

  • Avoiding long periods of standing still

  • Drinking plenty of fluid

  • Keeping the affected area raised as much as possible to encourage proper drainage in the veins

It may be difficult to know whether the symptoms of leg swelling are from a new clot or from post-thrombotic syndrome. Tests are available to help in distinguishing old from new clots. Patients should inform their healthcare providers if their symptoms continue or change, or if they are concerned that a new clot may be present.

If you have more questions about thrombosis diagnosis, call the IHTC.

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317.871.0000 or 877.CLOTTER (877.256.8837)