What Causes Blood Clots

Clotting is the reaction of blood cells and fibrin during an injury to clump and later form a protective cover over the site to facilitate healing. However in people with blood clotting problems, clots are formed even in absence of injury and they don’t dissolve on their own. This is can lead to blockage of an artery or a vein. If the blockage occurs in a vital organ like heart or brain, it can be fatal.


Immediately after an injury, there is an accumulation of platelets which try and seal the wound. The platelets release coagulants that cause the blood to coagulate. The plug is now called a clot. Then a network of fibrin is meshed across the site to strengthen the seal. Tissue healing then begins. As the wound heals, the clot is dissolved. Either excessive clotting or absence of the clotting abilities can be dangerous. Blood clots are also called as thrombus. A blood clot can sometimes break away (embolism) from its site of formation and travel in the blood stream. If it doesn’t dissolve then it can end up blocking a vessel.


If the vessel blocked by a blood clot happened to be a primary vessel of the body then the situation becomes life threatening. If the coronary arteries are blocked then heart will be depleted of oxygen supply. This can cause ischemia or a stroke. The heart muscle may also suffer damage if the clot doesn’t cause complete blockage but is depleting oxygen supply nevertheless. An embolism in the pulmonary vein or artery can cause disruption in the exchange of blood between heart and lungs. The whole body then won’t have a proper supply and it can lead to multiple organ failure.


Causes Blood Clots


Blood clots may form for various reasons. Atherosclerosis, Heart attack or stroke, Heart failure, Valvular heart disease, Thrombocythemia Pregnancy, Autoimmune disorders are some physiological disorders that cause blood clots. Severe injury may also cause internal blood clotting.  Microemolism caused during an open heart surgery is a side effect. Micro clots are formed when a heart lung machine is used to pump blood and oxygen. Obesity can also cause blood clots mainly in the heart and lead to a cardiac arrest. Blood clots are also formed when implants are used. Since it is a mechanism of the body, for the implants acceptance anti coagulants are used. Smoking can also cause clots in the heart


Diagnosis Blood Clots


To find out if there is a blood clot then you must have a reason to suspect. Usually a blood clot causes sudden sharp pain which is gone in an instant. If the pain occurs in the chest area near the heart, then the clot could be in one of the vessels of the heart. If there are seizures and unexplainable weakness present then it could be there in the brain. These signs are reason to get a test done. First the Physician examines the location of the suspected clot physically and then may suggest a diagnosis procedure like  Angiogram or Venogram, MRI and CAT. Ultra sound scanning can also be done.


Treatment Blood Clots


Medical treatment is done using drugs known as Thrombolytics. They help dissolve blood clots. They are used only during emergencies like heart attacks. If medication is not needed then invasive procedures are done to get rid of the blood clot. They involve using a catheter to suck the clot away. The catheter physically removes the clot. Sometimes a thrombolytic is also delivered by a catheter to help facilitate dissolution of the clot. Stents help widening the blood vessel around the blood clot to help facilitate blood flow. 


Prevention of clots


Prevention of blood clots becomes necessary to help the body accept a foreign body an as implant. Since clotting is the first stage of protective mechanism, it should not be allowed to take place around the implant. Drugs known as anti coagulants are given to the patient to reduce the clotting ability of blood. These people will have to be very careful when going about their daily living. Since their blood has decreased clotting ability, a small injury can lead to excessive loss. Anti – coagulants will have to be taken everyday. In order to improve acceptance and reduce dependence on anti coagulants, bio synthetic implants are now used.

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