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Blood Clots (cont.)

Blood Clots Symptoms

Symptoms of a blood clot depend upon where it is located. Many times, the clot itself may cause no symptoms until it embolizes and becomes lodged in small blood vessels at distant sites in the body. The effects of the lack of blood supply to an affected organ will determine the symptoms.

  • With atrial fibrillation, in which no symptoms occur until a thrombus embolizes.

  • If the clot embolizes to an artery in the brain, the symptoms will be that of stroke.

  • If the artery involved supplies blood to the bowel, symptoms may include abdominal pain and bloody bowel movements.

  • In a leg or arm, the blood clot or deep venous thrombosis can act as a dam and block blood returning to the heart. This may cause inflammation of the vein, or thrombophlebitis. Common symptoms include swelling, redness or discoloration, warmth, and pain.

  • The major complication of a deep venous thrombosis occurs when the clot breaks off and travels to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath. This is a potentially life-threatening condition depending upon the extent of the lung tissue that loses blood supply.

  • Symptoms of arterial clot depend upon which organ is losing its blood supply.

    • If it is located in a coronary artery, there may be signs of heart attack.

    • Cerebral artery occlusion by clot will manifest in signs of stroke.

    • A patient with an arterial clot to an arm or leg will develop a painful, cool, pulseless extremity.

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Deep Vein Thrombosis (Blood Clot in the Leg, DVT)
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