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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

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.

Thrombophilia can run in families, and is often linked with certain diseases. Sometimes blood tests can identify what is causing this.

People with thrombophilia are especially at risk of blood clots in their legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism). They can also have more clots in the arteries in their heart and brain, which can cause heart attacks or strokes. However, this isn't as common as clots in their legs or lungs, and is not a common cause of strokes and heart attacks.

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

Some people don't need treatment, but they may be advised to have preventative treatment at times when everyone is at higher risk of clots, such as during long-haul flights, pregnancy, or after surgery. Some need to take blood-thinning medicines (also called anticoagulants) for a period of time or permanently, to prevent clots.

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


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. Page created June 2015.

In this section

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Pulmonary embolism (PE)

Blood-thinning medicines for DVT & PE

Warfarin monitoring

Food choices & warfarin

Page reference: 165829

Review key: HIBCD-165829