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Thrombosis

What is thrombosis?

Thrombosis occurs when clots obstruct veins (blood vessels that carry blood from the body back into the heart) or arteries (blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the body). Venous thrombosis is when the blood clot obstructs a vein, and arterial thrombosis is when the blood clot obstructs an artery.

What causes thrombosis?

Venous thrombosis may be the result of the following:

  • disease or injury to the veins in the legs
  • immobility for any reason
  • fracture
  • certain medications
  • obesity
  • inherited disorders or inherited predisposition

Pooling (stasis) of blood in the legs and subsequent clotting can result in varicose veins. Clots in the legs may break loose and travel to the lungs, causing pulmonary clots that can result in respiratory distress, pain, and in extreme cases, death.

Arterial thrombosis may be the result of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries where fatty or calcium deposits cause the arterial walls to thicken) of blood vessels (clots form on abnormal blood vessel surfaces).

When arterial thrombosis occurs in the coronary arteries (the two that come from the aorta to provide blood to the heart muscle), it can lead to heart attacks. When arterial thrombosis occurs in the cerebral (brain) circulation, it can lead to strokes or lack of oxygen to other organs.

Treatment for thrombosis:

Specific treatment for thrombosis will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent and type of thrombosis
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference