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HealthInfo Canterbury

Blood clotting disorders

Clot blocks narrow part of blood vesselSome people have blood that clots more easily than usual. This is called thrombophilia (throm-bo-fill-e-a), as the medical name for blood clot is thrombus.

Blood clotting disorders can be a genetic problem, meaning they're passed on from your parents. They can also happen when you get older because of other medical conditions or problems with your immune system.

Some of the more common types of blood clotting disorders are factor V leiden, prothrombin gene mutation, protein C deficiency and antiphospholipid syndrome.

Blood clotting disorders have no symptoms, unless you get a blood clot. The most common type of clot is in a leg vein (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) which can lead to a more serious condition called pulmonary embolism (PE).

Some blood clotting disorders can also cause clots in an artery which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

Women with a blood clotting disorder can have recurrent miscarriages or pregnancy problems, caused by blood clots in the placenta.

Diagnosing blood clotting disorders

Blood clotting disorders are diagnosed by blood tests.

You may need to be checked if a family member has been diagnosed or had an unexplained blood clot under the age of 40.

Treating blood clotting disorders

If you haven’t had a clot you may not need any treatment. This will depend on the type of blood clotting disorder you have and whether you are at increased risk of getting a blood clot.

You may be advised to:

Some people will need to take low-dose aspirin or blood-thinning medicines (also called anticoagulants) for a period of time or permanently, to prevent clots.

Important

Always tell your doctor if you or a close relative of yours has ever had a blood clot.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Haematology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed May 2020.

See also:

Deep vein thrombosis & pulmonary embolism

Page reference: 165829

Review key: HIBCD-165829