Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
This leaflet will explain how we try to reduce the risk of you having a blood clot after you have been admitted to hospital.
If you have a blood clot in your leg, it is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If you have a blood clot in your lung, it is called pulmonary embolus (PE).
Why might I have a blood clot?
Being unwell can cause you to be less active. This can cause blood flow through your body and veins to be slower, which can increase your risk of developing a blood clot.
Also, the illness you are suffering can make your blood more prone to clotting. The combination of being less mobile and your blood being more prone to clotting will increase your risk of having a blood clot.
If you are admitted to hospital electively for an operation or procedure, you can become more prone to developing blood clots. Many patients are less mobile after having their operation or procedure. As your recover from this, your blood is more prone to clots.
Are blood clots serious?
Yes, they can be. A DVT can cause severe pain and swelling in your leg. It can make you less able to walk and slow down your recovery. If you have a DVT, this can cause long-term damage to the veins in your leg. This can lead to persistent swelling and pain in your leg.
A DVT can break off, travel back to your heart, and pass to your lungs where it becomes a PE. A PE can cause severe chest pain, breathlessness and, in a small number of cases, death. A PE can also significantly slow down your recovery from other medical conditions.
How will I know if I am at high risk of developing blood clots?
Your team will complete an assessment when you are admitted to hospital. This will assess your risk factors for developing blood clots, and if it is likely that your mobility will be effected during your admission.
The team will also check to see if any alternative treatment may have to be considered in order to reduce your risk of developing blood clots.
How will you reduce my chances of having a blood clot?
There are several ways we can try to reduce your risk of developing blood clots. These include:
The most common way to reduce your chance of having a blood clot is by giving you small dose injection of a blood thinning medicine each day. The medicines we use are Tinzaparin or Enoxaparin. The injection is given under the skin in the stomach.
It is safe and usually painless. There is a very small risk of having an allergic reaction. You may also develop some bruises at the site of the injections. These bruises will heal without any problem.
These are tight fitting stockings, worn on your legs during the day. These stockings help to improve the flow of blood through the veins in your legs, reducing the chance of a blood clot to form. They are worn all day and are to be taken off when you go to bed.
TED stockings are safe to use for most people. However, we do not give them to you if you have suffered a stroke, have circulation problems or have swollen legs.
Other ways to reduce the risk of blood clots
For patients who are not suitable for either of the above, we do use pneumatic compression boots. These coverings go over your calves and are attached to an air pump. The pump inflates and deflates the covering around your calves. This acts to squeeze the blood through your legs and keep the blood flowing well.
If you are already taking a blood thinning medication, such as warfarin, apixaban, or any other blood thinning medicine, you will usually continue taking this, without being given any of the medication mentioned above.
What can I do to help to stop blood clots forming while I am in hospital and when I go home?
You can reduce the risk of blood clots forming by doing some straightforward things:
- Keep well hydrated – Drink regularly and stay as well hydrated as you can (unless there is a reason that the medical team are limiting your fluid intake)
- Exercise – This can be as simple as regular movements while you are in bed. If you are able to take regular walks around your bed space or out into the ward area, this will help
- Complete all your treatment as prescribed – If you stop any of your treatment earlier than recommended, this can cause the problem to come back. This would slow down your recovery and increase your risk of developing a blood clot
- Stop smoking – Smoking causes your blood to clot more easily. Stopping smoking, even for a short time while in hospital, can reduce the risk of blood clots forming. You can ask to be given nicotine replacement patches that can help you do this while you are in hospital
Will I need any further treatment when I arrive home?
It is unusual for patients to require further treatment. However, if you have had surgical or orthopaedic operations or if you have given birth, you may be given treatment following your return to your home.
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet reference: PIL1319
Date for review: 12 May 2024