Blood clots

Definition

Blood clots are clumps that occur when blood hardens from a liquid to a solid.

A thrombus or embolus can partly or completely block the flow of blood in a blood vessel.

Alternative Names

Clot; Emboli; Thrombi; Thromboembolus; Hypercoagulable state

Causes

Situations in which a blood clot is more likely to form in veins include:

Blood clots are also more likely to form after an injury. People with cancer, obesity, and liver or kidney disease are also prone to blood clots.

Smoking also increases the risk of forming blood clots.

Conditions that are passed down through families (inherited) may make you more likely to form abnormal blood clots. Inherited conditions that affect clotting are:

Other rare conditions, such as protein C, protein S, and antithrombin III deficiencies.

A blood clot may block an artery or vein in an organ, affecting the:

References

Anderson JA, Hogg KE, Weitz JI. Hypercoagulable states. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 140.

Cross SS. Ischaemia, infarction and shock . In: Cross SS, ed. Underwood's Pathology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 7.

Schafer AI. Approach to the patient with bleeding and thrombosis: hypercoagulable states. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 162.


Review Date: 4/29/2022
Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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