Hospitalization and Blood Clots

Infographic: HOSPITALIZATION: A Major Risk Factor for Dangerous Blood Clots


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Title: Stop The Clot, Spread The Word

Prevent the Need for 911. Get the Facts on Blood Clots

Roughly 1 out of 10 hospital deaths are related to blood clots in the lungs.

Blood clots are a leading cause of preventable hospital death in the United States.

  • About half of all blood clots occur during or within 3 months of a hospital stay or surgery
  • Many of these blood clots can be safely prevented
  • Nearly half of all hospital patients do not receive proper prevention measures

Know Your Risk: The Link Between Hospitalization and Blood Clots

Hospitalization, particularly involving physical trauma, surgery, or prolonged immobility, increases the risk for blood clots.

  • Physical Trauma: Injury to a vein that may be caused by a broken bone, muscle injury, or other serious injury to the body.
  • Surgery: Major surgery, particularly of the pelvis, abdomen, hip, or knee.
  • Immobility: Confined to a bed or wheelchair for long periods of time due to a hospital stay, injury, or illness.

Understanding Blood Clots

A blood clot in one of the large veins, usually in a person’s leg or arm, is called a deep vein thrombosis or DVT. When a DVT forms, it can partially or completely block the flow of blood through the vein.

If a DVT is not treated, it can move or break off and travel to the lungs.

A blood clot in the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism or PE. This requires immediate medical attention since it can cause death.

Going to the Hospital? Get Better. Don’t Get a Blood Clot. Have a Prevention Plan.

Before You Enter the Hospital

  • Discuss your potential risk factors and family health history with your doctor.
  • Ask if you will need prevention measures for blood clots while in the hospital.
  • Make sure that all of your doctors know your blood clot risks and ask for a prevention plan.

Before your Leave the Hospital

  • Ask your doctor how to prevent blood clots when you are at home.
  • Discuss the signs and symptoms of blood clots.
  • Make sure you know what to do if you experience the signs or symptoms of a blood clot.

When You Return Home

  • Follow instructions and take medications as prescribed.
  • Move around, if confined to bed or a wheelchair, have someone help you move your arms and legs.
  • Notify your doctor if you experience signs or symptoms of blood clots.

If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms …

Blood Clots in Your Legs or Arms
Alert Your Doctor As Soon As Yo u Can

  • Swelling of your legs or arms
  • Pain or tenderness not caused by an injury
  • Skin that is warm to the touch
  • Redness or discoloration of the skin

Blood Clots in Your Lungs
Seek Medical Attention Immediately

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath
  • Coughing, or coughing up blood
  • Faster than normal or irregular heartbeat

To learn more about blood clots and to spread the word, visit