After a blood clot

If you've experienced a blood clot, treatment and support can help.

Many people with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) experience clots. Clots can affect people with any type of MPN at any age. Clots can also occur in many different blood vessels in the body.

What causes clots?

Clots occur in people with MPNs because their blood is thicker and their blood cells are “stickier” than normal. Researchers are also finding increasing evidence showing that raised white cell counts contribute to clotting perhaps more than high platelet counts do.

Where clots can occur?

Clots can occur in many places in the body including:

  • The fingers or toes called “erythromelalgia” if the clot is short-lasting, or “digital thrombosis” if longer lasting
  • The blood supply to the heart, in which case it is called a heart attack
  • The vessels leading from major organs, such as the liver
  • The brain, a stroke, or for more minor clots a transient ischaemic attack or TIA if the effects last less than 24 hours
  • The lungs - a pulmonary embolism
  • The eyes – a retinal vein or artery thrombosis

What happens after a clot?

In general, when a person experiences a clot of this kind, they are given several types of medical treatment:

  • Treatment to prevent clots from extending
  • Treatment to dissolve the clot, called thrombolysis
  • Treatment to address any injuries to the body caused by the clot
  • Therapies to assist in recovery after a clot, for instance after a stroke
  • Treatment to manage the MPN itself (particularly if newly-diagnosed)

Treatments for clots

Some clots, for instance DVTs, can be treated using blood-thinning drugs such as coumadin (Warfarin). Other clots require different types of medications to treat them.

A doctor, such as a cardiologist in the case of a heart attack, may prescribe additional drugs, and may also advise you about special dietary requirements if you are taking certain medications or if you have suffered a clot such as a heart attack. Please follow your doctor’s recommendations precisely.

For some large clots where the benefits outweigh the risks a clot dissolving drug or thrombolysis may be given in hospital.

What you may be experiencing

If you or a loved one has suffered a blood clot, you may be facing a variety of medical challenges. It can also be an emotional time for both a patient and his or her family and friends. People who have experienced a clot are sometimes faced with the distress of having a new illness, for instance becoming a cardiac patient in addition to being an MPN patient or developing new disabilities. You can read information about coping with chronic illnesses in our ways to feel better section.

Please visit our real stories to read about other people with MPNs who have suffered serious clots, such as a heart attack, stroke or DVT.

More information

You can find detailed information on heart health, recovering from a stroke, and preventing and treating DVTs on the following websites:

In the UK

In the US