What is thrombosis and which body parts does it impact? Doctor reveals factors that raises its possibility and more
Thrombosis is a life-threatening condition because if a clot forms in the blood vessels, it can block or obstruct blood flow to vital organs. Here are the body parts it impacts, the factors that raise the possibility of developing it, complications that occur due to arterial and venous thrombosis
The solidification of blood in a blood vessel is known as thrombosis and it is a life-threatening condition because if a clot forms in the blood vessels, it can block or obstruct blood flow to vital organs such as the brain, heart, lungs. There are two types of thrombosis, arterial and venous but the most common type of thrombosis is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) where clots can block blood supply to vital organs such as the lungs, pulmonary embolism (clot in the lung), and can prove to be fatal.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rajiv Parakh, Chairman at Peripheral Vascular and Endovascular Sciences of Medanta Hospital in Gurugram revealed, “To diagnose DVT the best way is to carry out a colour Doppler examination which is a specialized ultrasound for the blood vessels. This test can determine the extent of the clots - whether they are limited to the legs or have travelled up to the abdominal vessels.”
Talking about the causes of thrombosis, he informed that the major causes leading to thrombosis are:
1. Hypercoagulability or increased thickness of blood - Higher concentrations of clotting factors in the blood increase susceptibility to thrombosis. Usually, hereditary conditions are to blame for this. Hypercoagulability is also known as thrombophilia.
2. Injury to the blood vessels - When the blood vessel lining is damaged, blood tends to clot. This causes thrombosis.
3. Slowing or pooling of the blood - Thrombosis may also result from slow blood flow, such as after heart failure or extended periods of inactivity. Cancer and irregular heart beating are two other medical diseases that might impact blood flow and result in the formation of a thrombus.
Throwing light on the symptoms of venous thrombosis, Dr Rajiv Parakh said, “Thrombosis symptoms vary from person to person but some commonly seen symptoms are sudden onset pain usually in the calf or inner thigh, swelling in the leg or arm, the skin turning warm, chest pain, weakness, and occasionally blood in the sputum.”
According to Dr Rajiv Parakh, factors that raise the possibility of developing thrombosis are -
1. Birth control pills: Estrogen and progestin are used in birth control pills to aid in preventing pregnancy. However, estrogen in particular increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis – Long Air Travel
2. Sitting and standing for long durations in one position: Sitting still in one position for a very long time increases the risk of thrombosis.
3. Surgery: During surgery some blood vessels are usually damaged, a clot may form there which can travel to the lung.
4. Hereditary clotting disorder: Which are disorders which make the blood thicker and prone to clotting.
5. Smoking: Smoking can damage the blood vessel lining and raise the chance of blood clots formation which increases the risk of excessive blood clotting.
Asserting that complications that arise from thrombosis can be extremely serious, Dr Rajiv Parakh elaborated:
1. If clots block the blood vessels (arteries) in the neck, then blood supply to the brain is impacted and can result in stroke or paralysis.
2. If the upper or lower limbs arteries are blocked by thrombosis, gangrene can develop, and amputation may be needed
3. If the arteries to our intestines, get blocked, then gangrene of the bowel can develop which can be fatal.
Highlighting the treatments for thrombosis, Dr Rajiv Parakh shared, “The most widely used and effective drugs used for thrombosis are blood thinning anticoagulant medications. These assist in preventing the development of new blood clots. Oral anticoagulants are mostly used to treat thrombosis over a long term. In an emergency, clot dissolving injections may be given to a patient with thrombosis. They aid in breaking up of clots & dissolving them in order to prevent clots reaching the lung an umbrella or filter can be implanted in the main vein of the body without open surgery in selective cases. Another minimally invasive method to dissolve and break up clots is mechanical thrombectomy using a special catheter and machine which can be used in selective cases of extensive DVT.”