Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Thrombosis, phlebitis, embolism: what are your risks?

Phlebitis and embolism are serious conditions and two relatively common but little known. The origin of these phenomena: thrombosis, a blood clot blocking an artery. How occurrence of such accidents? Can we reduce the risk? 

When clots form in a superficial vein, the management is simple. By cons, if it is a deep vein (phlebitis), it is urgent. The clot (thrombus known) risk, standing out, causing sudden occlusion of a blood vessel is embolism, most commonly the lungs. Hence the importance of knowing the risk factors of this disease.

ThromboseSi you have a deep pain in the calf, accentuated when you lift your foot, you have to think phlebitis. A quick consultation with your doctor, if necessary followed by an ultrasound will rule out (or confirm) the hypothesis.

Signs of pulmonary embolism are often misleading and may delay the time of consultation: pain in the chest, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing and coughing. In other cases, the symptoms are much more important: shortness of breath even at rest, sharp chest pain, cyanosis. In any case, it is urgent to immediately call their doctor or the emergency services and ensure timely care.
The capital, the main risk factor

Besides the famous economy class syndrome that has a lot of talk, any complete immobilization leads to stagnation of blood in the veins, and therefore a risk of thrombus formation if the situation continues.

Also, do not be surprised if in the event of prolonged bed rest or immobilization in a cast, your doctor prescribes daily injections of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH, see a list). These anticoagulants can thin the blood and thus avoid the risk of thrombosis.

At the hospital stays for a debilitating disease can lead to thrombosis: cardiovascular disease (heart failure) and cancer (especially if there are metastases). The most risky situations are orthopedic surgery, gynecological, cardiac and neurological. Physicians and caregivers should pay special attention to the risk of thromboembolism said.
Other acquired risk factors

Age, obesity, pregnancy and puerperium, a significant venous disease (varicose veins and many old), contraceptive estrogen or a history of thrombosis should also urge caution.

People with any of these risk factors must be vigilant. Feel free to wear compression stockings and walk around every 2 hours. If you have multiple risk factors, treatment with heparin may be prescribed by your doctor preventively.

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