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Risk of blood clots

What is venous thromboembolism (VTE)?

Venous thromboembolism is the name given to blood clots that may form in people during illness or after surgery. These clots can be serious. It is important you know how to reduce your risk of developing them. 

There are two different kinds of blood clots:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): This occurs when blood clots form in veins, usually deep inside the legs or hips, where they may cause symptoms like pain, redness, or swelling. 
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE): This occurs when a blood clot breaks off and moves through the veins to block blood vessels in the lungs. This may cause chest pain and make it hard to breath. These clots are serious and can sometimes be life-threatening.

What can you do to help prevent a blood clot?

  • Ask if you are at risk of blood clots
  • Ask what will be done to reduce your risk of blood clots
  • Ask how to reduce your risk of blood clots when you go home

What will the hospital do?

Your doctor or nurse will assess your risk for developing blood clots and discuss this with you. To help prevent clots your doctor may prescribe anti-clotting medicine, compression stockings or pumps that go around your calf or on your feet.

For further information:

Last updated 22 February 2023
Last reviewed 22 February 2023