Clotting is the result of a series of chemical changes in the blood. Blood clots help repair damaged blood vessels and stop bleeding. Special blood cells called platelets and proteins called clotting factors are involved in blood clotting.
Blood clots may also form when there is no injury or bleeding. They may block veins or arteries. This may interrupt blood flow to part of the body. The clots may prevent blood flow to organs, such as the brain, lungs, and heart.
Clotting disorders are a group of conditions in which people have excessive clotting. These disorders may be diagnosed in childhood, but are usually identified during the teen years and young adulthood. They are often genetic, meaning they are inherited and present at birth.
Some of the clotting disorders are:
Clotting disorders are usually inherited conditions. Some illnesses may increase the risk of blood clot.
Many children with clotting disorders do not have blood clots. There are factors that increase the risk of getting clots as children get older. They include:
There are no symptoms of clotting disorders. However, if a deep vein thrombosis forms the symptoms are:
If a pulmonary embolism occurs the symptoms include:
Pulmonary embolism is an emergency. If you think your child may have a clot in his or her lung, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away.
In children, the diagnosis of a clotting disorder is based on medical history, current symptoms, and family history. Your child's provider will also examine your child. And blood tests include the following:
Your child's provider will probably refer you to a hematologist. This is a specialist in blood disorders. Medications are the main treatment for clotting disorders. They include:
Your child might need to take an anticoagulant for a long time. And, during high-risk periods (for example, if your child is confined to bed or has surgery), your child may need other medications to help manage or prevent clots.
Serious complications from clotting disorders are not common in children. But problems can occur. Complications include:
Work with your child's health care provider to help prevent clots. As your child gets older, help him or her avoid things that further increase the risk of blood clots. These include:
Since there are risks associated with pregnancy, women should get counseling before considering pregnancy.
Call your child's health care provider if he or she has symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis, or clots anywhere in the body.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider: