Blood Clots (cont.)
When to Seek Medical Care
Usually the symptoms of a blood clot will be enough to alert and potentially
alarm a patient or their family enough to seek care.
An arterial clot prevents blood rich with oxygen and nutrients from getting
to cells, causing them to stop functioning. This usually causes a true emergency and
emergency services should be activated (often by calling 911).
- If those oxygen-deprived cells are in the brain, then symptoms of stroke
may be apparent. Time is of the essence in seeking emergency care. There is a
narrow time window during which clot-busting drugs may be used to reverse the
- A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when
the blood clot occludes a coronary artery. The signs and symptoms of heart
- chest pain,
- upper abdominal pain, arm, neck, or jaw pain,
- shortness of breath,
- sweating, and
- nausea, among others.
- Again, time is of the essence to try to
re-establish blood supply to heart muscle by heart catheterization and balloon
angioplasty or by administering clot-busting drugs.
- Other arterial clots will usually cause an acute onset
of significant pain
and will signal the need for emergency medical care.
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