Thrombosis is a condition where a blood clot, technically a thrombus, is formed that clogs the involved blood vessel. Thrombosis can occur in both arteries and veins. However, the consequences are different. Arterial thrombosis leads to ischemia, i.e. the tissue supplied by the respective artery is pallid. Venous thrombosis worsens the outflow of blood, which accumulates in front of the obstacle. This condition is technically called venous stasis. Thrombosis can have many causes.
Causes of thrombosis
There are many causes leading to the formation of blood clots and thus the formation of venous thrombosis. It is especially increased blood clotting, slowing of blood flow and damage of the venous wall.
- Increased blood clotting is an imbalance between stimulating and inhibiting factors. This may be a hereditary matter where the patient suffers from a lack of various enzymes and clotting factors. However, it is possible to obtain this condition during life. Some tumors are capable of releasing substances that increase blood clotting. The same effect has also hormonal contraception.
- A slowed blood flow can occur due to prolonged immobilization of the patient whether in terms of standing, sitting, or lying in bed. Blood flow can be slowed down by a tumor, which obstructs the respective blood vessel.
- The venous wall may be damaged after injury, an injection, due to smoking, or after the introduction of a catheter.
Symptoms of thrombosis
As already mentioned, the symptoms of thrombosis are diverse. It largely depends on whether it is from a blood clot blocking an artery or a vein.
Symptoms of arterial thrombosis
If the thrombus occurs in the artery ischemia occurs, i.e. the part of the body, to which the artery supplies oxygenated blood and nutrients, is pallid. This causes pain and if the artery is clogged completely and the blood flow is not restored in time, then there is a risk of necrosis of this part of body or tissue. A result of arterial thrombosis is heart attack, renal failure, or stroke.
Symptoms of venous thrombosis
A different situation is a clot in the veins. Most often this occurs in the veins of the lower extremities, especially in the deep veins. Thrombosis of a smaller scale may be asymptomatic. But often, the thrombus in this area causes pain and swelling of the limbs. It is due to the decreased outflow of blood, so it accumulates here. This condition is life-threatening because the thrombus may tear off and wedge in the pulmonary arteries and cause pulmonary embolism.
Diagnosis of thrombosis
Diagnosis of venous thrombosis is based on clinical symptoms and the use of imaging techniques. A standard for determining the presence of venous thrombosis is duplex ultrasonography. It is a painless non-invasive method by which we can assess the condition of the veins, their narrowing, and the presence of a thrombus and blood flow. Most often are used compression methods where the vein is pressed during this examination by a probe. In the case that it is not possible it proves the presence of blood clots. Less frequently is used a CT method, i.e. computed tomography. X-rays are used to create a comprehensive picture of the patient's tissues. Its advantage is that we can also scan the lungs if pulmonary embolism is suspected. In the diagnosis of arterial thrombosis also ultrasound is used, with which we can detect a thrombus in an artery.
Treatment of thrombosis
Thrombosis is a life-threating condition. It is therefore necessary to immediately see a doctor if you suspect this condition. The sooner thrombosis is diagnosed, the sooner an effective treatment can be initiated. Treatment of thrombosis may be both invasive and non-invasive.
Non-invasive treatment of thrombosis
Non-invasive treatment means that there is no penetration of tools or equipment in to the patient. If a blood clot is in a vein, usually the first step is to bandage the limb with a compression bandage, which usually leads to pain relief. In these phases movement is important for the patient, but of course not for everyone is this suitable and beneficial. Movement may be prevented by excessive swelling or a poor general condition of the patient. Given that thrombosis is determined by unregulated blood clotting in the blood vessels treatment focuses on reducing this process. For this many special drugs are available, such as heparin or similar substances.
Invasive treatment of thrombosis
Invasive methods mean that during treatment tools or equipment are introduced in to the patient. But these methods of treatment of venous thrombosis are in these days rather a last option. This includes a catheterization procedure in which a catheter is inserted in to the vein, which is a special device in the form of tubing. With it you can disrupt a blood clot in the vein and restore blood flow. Another option is to surgically open the vein and remove the clot.
Prevention of thrombosis
Thrombosis should not be underestimated. Thrombosis can be largely avoided. It is recommended to stop smoking, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels within normal range, sufficient exercise and weight reduction. It is also recommended to avoid prolonged standing. Women should consult with their doctor the use of hormonal contraception.