In a thrombosis, a blood clot forms in a vein and hinders the return of the blood to the heart. This usually manifests itself through pain and swelling in the affected area. It is important to distinguish between the different types of thrombosis. Because a blood clot can arise in principle in every blood vessel of the body and even in the heart - with different consequences.
Thrombosis in veins or arteries
If a blood clot forms in an artery, it is called an arterial thrombosis, which is a common cause of a heart attack or stroke. Venous thrombosis distinguishes thrombosis of the superficial and deep veins.
Thrombosis of the superficial veins is also referred to as phlebitis (thrombophlebitis) and often occurs in varicose veins or by inflammation of venous catheters. Connecting veins allow the clot to enter the deep veins. The following is a deep venous thrombosis when talking about a thrombosis.
Thrombosis in the leg is especially common
Thrombosis in the leg veins is particularly common - but other vessels in the body may be affected. Less common is thrombosis in the arm or pelvis. The symptoms are basically similar regardless of the affected area.
If the clot separates from the vessel wall, a dangerous pulmonary embolism can develop. Therefore, it is important to correctly interpret signs of venous thrombosis and to see a doctor quickly.
Symptoms are not always clear
In a thrombosis, a vein is partially or completely closed by a blood clot. This leads to a more or less pronounced congestion, which can be expressed by pulling pain and by swelling and overheating.
However, it is not unusual for typical signs to be absent: some patients only experience mild tenderness or discomfort similar to sore muscles. Even classic "thrombosis signs" such as calf pain when putting on the foot or pain under pressure on the sole of the foot can only be observed in some cases.
In addition, the following symptoms may indicate a thrombosis:
- Blue coloring of the skin (cyanosis)
- visible, protruding veins on the skin
- plump, shiny skin with tension
- Pain in compression of the calf with both hands
- Increase in heart rate
If thrombosis suspected to the doctor
If you notice symptoms that may indicate a thrombosis, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Especially after a long journey by car, bus, train or plane, it is important to pay close attention to possible signs of thrombosis. Because sitting for long periods without sufficient breaks in movement increases the risk of developing a thrombosis.
Make diagnosis by means of ultrasound
If a thrombosis is suspected, the doctor first collects the medical history and asks the patient about various risk factors and about the symptoms. In conjunction with a physical examination and a blood test, he can thus determine the probability of the presence of thrombosis.
The diagnosis is then confirmed by a so-called compression sonography. The doctor uses the ultrasound machine to examine whether the vein is compressible and whether the blood flow is impaired. In unclear cases, an X-ray with contrast agent (phlebography) is additionally performed, as a result of which thrombosis can usually be reliably detected.
4 facts about thrombosis - © istockphoto, bds