TABLE OF CONTENTS

100 Questions and Answers

About Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism

Part 1: The Basics

  • What is blood?
  • What is the purpose of blood vessels?
  • How and why does blood clot?
  • What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
  • How common is DVT?
  • Where does DVT occur?

Part 2: Diagnosis and Symptoms

  • What are the symptoms of DVT?
  • What is the difference between DVT and superficial vein thrombosis or superficial thrombophlebitis?
  • How is DVT diagnosed?
  • What are the consequences of DVT?
  • What is the post-phlebitic or post-thrombotic syndrome?
  • What is pulmonary embolism (PE)?
  • What are the symptoms of PE?
  • How is PE diagnosed?

Part 3: Initial Treatment

  • What are the goals of treatment of DVT?
  • What is the initial treatment of DVT?
  • What is heparin?
  • How does heparin work?
  • What is the difference between heparin and low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH)?
  • How is the dose of heparin or LMWH determined?
  • What is the activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT)?
  • How does fondaparinux work?
  • What is the initial treatment of PE?
  • What are the side effects of standard heparin or LMWH?
  • What is warfarin?
  • How does warfarin work?
  • Why is warfarin not used for initial treatment of DVT or PE?
  • What is a vena caval filter?
  • What if the DVT or PE is limb- or life-threatening?

Part 4: Long-term Treatment with Warfarin

  • How long will I require treatment with warfarin?
  • How long can warfarin be taken?
  • What are the risks of treatment with warfarin?
  • Why are frequent blood tests required?
  • What is the prothrombin time (PT) test?
  • Where do I go to have my PT or INR measured?
  • Can I monitor my own INR at home?
  • What is vitamin K and what does it do?
  • Why must I pay attention to my intake of vitamin K while taking warfarin?
  • What foods have vitamin K in them?
  • While taking warfarin, is wine, beer or liquor allowed?
  • What about dietary supplements and herbal medications while taking warfarin?
  • How can the risks of bleeding with warfarin be reduced without increasing the risk of a clot?
  • Is there an alternative to warfarin for long-term treatment or prevention of DVT and PE?

Part 5: Risk Factors

  • What conditions increase the likelihood of blood clots?
  • What is the factor V Leiden?
  • What is the prothrombin gene mutation?
  • What is the antiphospholipid syndrome?
  • Can children get blood clots?

Part 6: Pregnancy

  • Does pregnancy cause blood clots?
  • Why is warfarin unsafe during pregnancy?
  • Why is heparin or low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) considered safe?
  • How are blood clots treated during pregnancy?
  • How are blood clots prevented during pregnancy?
  • What precautions are taken at the time of delivery?
  • When are anticoagulants restarted after delivery?
  • Are anticoagulants safe to take while breastfeeding?

Part 7: Menstruation and Birth Control

  • Is it true that birth control pills cause blood clots?
  • Can a woman take birth control pills if she has had a blood clot in the past?
  • What if a woman has thrombophilia but has never had a blood clot?
  • Can anticoagulation cause heavy periods or other gynecological problems?
  • How can heavy menstrual bleeding be managed?

Part 8: Menopause and Hormone Therapy

  • Does estrogen cause blood clots?
  • Can a woman who has had a blood clot in the past take estrogen?

Part 9: Medical Problems

  • What if cancer is present?
  • What if kidney failure is present?
  • What if heart disease is present?
  • What if diabetes is present?
  • What if liver disease is present?
  • What if high blood pressure is present?

Part 10: Surgery and Trauma

  • What happens if I am on warfarin and I have to have surgery?
  • What if I am taking warfarin and I have to have emergency surgery or I am injured?
  • How will I be protected from blood clots at the time of surgery or injury if I am not taking warfarin?

Part 11: Travel

  • What measures can be taken to prevent blood clots during travel?
  • How is anticoagulation managed during travel?

Part 12: Activity, Sports and Recreation

  • What limitations do I have?
  • May I dive?
  • May I hike or climb?

Part 13: Complications

  • Can DVT cause permanent damage?
  • How can the post-phlebitic or post-thrombotic syndrome be prevented?
  • What are the consequences of PE?
  • Can PE cause permanent damage?
  • How is swelling treated?
  • How is pain treated?
  • How are leg ulcers treated?
  • How are recurrent blood clots treated?

Part 14: Prevention of Recurrent Clots

  • What is the chance of my having another DVT or PE?
  • Are there foods or medications that should be avoided?
  • If I am not taking anticoagulants are there special precautions I should take?
  • Does aspirin prevent blood clots?

Part 15: Family and Genetic Issues

  • If I have had a blood clot, do I need to be tested for thrombophilia?
  • If I learn that I have an inherited thrombophilia, what should I tell my family members?
  • If I have a family member who has had a blood clot or thrombophilia, but I have never had a blood clot, what are my risks?
  • If I have a family member who has had a blood clot or thrombophilia, but I have never had a blood clot, should I be tested for thrombophilia?

Part 16: Miscellaneous

  • Do I need to wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace?
  • What does insurance usually pay for?
  • Who treats DVT and PE?
  • Where can I find an expert in the field?
  • Where can I go for additional information?

Glossary

Index

Current News

October e-Newsletter | Support World Thrombosis Day 2018

This year, NBCA is celebrating 15 years of service in the clotting disorders community, and our mission has long been to advance…

Expecting or recently had a baby? Don’t let a blood clot spoil your joy.

Today, the National Blood Clot Alliance, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kicked off the next phase…