Blood Clots - Describe Your Experience

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What are blood clots?

Blood is a liquid that flows within blood vessels. It is constantly in motion as the heart pumps blood through arteries to the different organs and cells of the body. The blood is returned back to the heart by the veins. Veins are squeezed when muscles in the body contract and push the blood back to the heart.

Blood clotting is an important mechanism to help the body repair injured blood vessels. Blood consists of:

  • red blood cells containing hemoglobin that carry oxygen to cells and remove carbon dioxide (the waste product of metabolism),

  • white blood cells that fight infection,

  • platelets that are part of the clotting process of the body, and

  • blood plasma, which contains fluid, chemicals and proteins that are important for bodily functions.

Complex mechanisms exist in the bloodstream to form clots where they are needed. If the lining of the blood vessels becomes damaged, platelets are recruited to the injured area to form an initial plug. These activated platelets release chemicals that start the clotting cascade, using a series of clotting factors produced by the body. Ultimately, fibrin is formed, the protein that crosslinks with itself to form a mesh that makes up the final blood clot.

The medical term for a blood clot is a thrombus (plural= thrombi). When a thrombus is formed as part of a normal repair process of the body, there is little consequence. Unfortunately, there are times when a thrombus (blood clot) will form when it is not needed, and this can have potentially significant consequences.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Corina, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 16

I had pain in my left leg and some numbness in my left toes for about a week. I went to the doctor who told me I had a pulled hamstring, a sprained ankle and tendonitis in my knee. She sent me for an x-ray of my ankle and referred me to an orthopedic doctor. I went to see the orthopedic doctor who referred me back to my primary care (PC) doctor because he said he thought I had a blood clot and that my problem was not orthopedic. I called the PC back and went in. I was seen by the nurse practitioner who prescribed a muscle relaxer and said I had a pulled muscle. Two days later the pain was so bad I went to the emergency room where I was told I had a blood clot. I was admitted immediately and had an angiogram the following morning. They did a bypass behind my knee because I had a blood clot that was 10 cm. Within 8 hours I was back in surgery with another blood clot in my left leg, within 1 hour after that I had another and then another. I was allergic to the heparin that was being given in my IV. I have been on 2 blood thinners (warfarin and Plavix) since then. I have limited use of my left leg and limited range of motion in my left ankle. My leg feels like it is dead from my toes to my groin, and I still have an open wound on my calf. I also have nerve damage in my left leg which was probably caused by multiple surgeries in the same place. I am in constant pain all day long and still have lots of swelling which starts within 20 minutes of getting out of bed. I still have no answers if this will get any better. I was told by the vascular surgeon that he has never had a case with someone who was allergic to heparin so he is not sure. Thanks for the lack of information, I really appreciate it. Now I am told that my blood flow just above my groin is too fast and I still don't know why but they want to do another surgery. I said no surgery till all questions are answered and my left leg has healed from the first 4 surgeries which were done almost 6 months ago. No answers as of yet.

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Comment from: burth, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 15

I went for an operation on my right groin because they said my vein was blocked. The cause of was blood clot so they put me on warfarin tablets. After operation I get cramps in both my legs at the calves and toes while taking my warfarin tablets. I left taking the tablets for two months and I still get the same pain and cramps so I wonder if I have blood clots.

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