Blood Clots and Children

Can children get blood clots? Yes. Blood clots occur whenever a restriction of blood flow occurs in a blood vessel of the body. It doesn’t matter how large or small the blood vessel: clotting is a natural process of plugging and healing an injury to any part of the vessel.

That doesn’t mean that all blood clots are dangerous. They’re not. Blood clots may develop in children from a variety of reasons that also affect adults, including:

  • sitting for extended periods
  • immobility due to illness
  • chronic illness requiring hospitalization
  • traumatic injury
  • inherited clotting disease disorders
  • dehydration

Literature, advertisements and information are readily available to the public about this condition with the focus on adults, but children can also experience blood clots. Can specific conditions increase the risk of blood clot development in children? The simple answer is yes. However, not all blood clotting risks in children are caused by easily identifiable medical conditions.

Factors involved with childhood blood clots

Some childhood disorders, such as May-Thurner Syndrome, causes a narrowing of the iliac vein in the leg. This creates an area where blood can pool as it makes its way back to the heart – and increasing the risk potential for clotting.

Another deficiency that may cause blood clotting in children is Protein S deficiency. This deficiency increases the risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. This type of blood clot develops in deep vessels.

Normally, children do not experience blood clots as often as adults, but they can and do occur. Some drugs or toxins may also be factors in risk of blood clot development, especially while treating co-existing medical conditions in children.

According to recent literature, causes for blood clots in children may be literally unknown (known as idiopathic). Other more serious causes may include risk factors that result from severe infections, cancers or heart structures or defects.

Preventing blood clots in children

Prevention of blood clots in children takes a variety of forms. Daily exercise, increased mobility, drinking adequate amounts of fluids and eating a healthy diet all reduce risks. For those who may develop blood clots from disease or illnesses, early detection is important to establish treatment early on to prevent complications up to and including death.

Familiarity with your child’s health history and activities give adults a better understanding of potential risks for blood clot development and offers education and advice for implementing preventative measures.

Notify medical professionals at the first signs of an impending blood clot or sudden pain. Any changes to a child’s health or behavior is an indication that something may be going on. Rapid, knowledgeable responses can mean the difference between a short visit to the doctor or a life- threatening emergency.

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