Embolism venous

What is Venous Embolism?

Venous embolism is a blockage of a vein or arteries caused by a blood clot (also known as thrombus) that has dislodged from its original site and traveled through the bloodstream. Venous embolism most commonly affects veins in the legs, but can affect other veins throughout the body as well. Embolism occurs when the blood clot becomes lodged in a vessel, preventing blood from flowing further downstream.

Types of Venous Embolism

Venous embolism falls into two main categories: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical embolism is caused by an object such as a tumor or a foreign object that has traveled through the bloodstream and become lodged in a vessel. Chemical embolism is caused by a substance, such as a chemical reaction or an injection, entering the blood stream and preventing blood from flowing further downstream.

Causes of Venous Embolism

Venous embolism usually occurs when red blood cells are deprived of oxygen. This can be caused by a clot forming in the leg or by an improper closing of a vein by a valve. Other causes include:

  • Physical trauma, such as a broken bone or a deep cut.
  • Pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Surgery.
  • Dehydration.
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.

Risk Factors for Venous Embolism

Anyone can develop a venous embolism, but the following factors increase the risk of developing one:

  • Age: Venous embolism is more common in older people.
  • Family history of blood clots.
  • A sedentary lifestyle: Sitting or standing for long periods of time increases the risk of blood clots.
  • Smoking: Tobacco use can cause blood clots and increases the risk of venous embolism.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause blood clots.
  • Obesity.
  • Recent surgery or immobilization.
  • Birth control use, especially if combined with smoking.

Symptoms of Venous Embolism

The most common symptoms of a venous embolism are pain, swelling, discoloration, and tenderness in the affected area. Other symptoms can include difficulty breathing, chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, and fever. In some cases, a person may have no symptoms at all. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Diagnosing Venous Embolism

If a doctor suspects a venous embolism, they will likely order a number of tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests could include an ultrasound, an MRI, a CT scan, or an arteriogram. The doctor may also take a sample of the person's blood to look for signs of a blood clot.

Treatment of Venous Embolism

Treatments for venous embolism depend on the severity of the condition. Mild embolisms can be treated with medications such as anti-clotting medications or anticoagulants. More serious cases may require surgical intervention. Depending on the type and location of the embolism, your doctor may opt to use a procedure such as thrombectomy or angioplasty to remove or break up the clot.