What Are Hypercoagulable States?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What are hypercoagulable states?

Doctor's answer:

A hypercoagulable state is the medical term for a condition in which there is an abnormally increased tendency toward blood clotting (coagulation).

There are numerous hypercoagulable states. Each has different causes and each increases a person's chances of developing blood clots such as those associated with thrombophlebitis (clot in the veins).

Causes of hypercoagulable states include medications (female hormones, estrogens and birth control pills), after surgery (post-operative period, especially hip, knee, and urinary system procedures), pregnancy, phospholipid antibodies in blood (anticardiolipin antibodies, lupus anticoagulant), cancer (though most patients with a hypercoagulable state do not have cancer), elevated blood homocysteine levels, and inherited protein deficiencies (antithrombin III, factor V Leiden, protein S, protein C, and others).

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Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

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