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My wife had superficial blood clots in leg. They took ultrasound and she just collapsed 13 days ago in my arms and died in the hospital of a blood clot in the lung. She was healthy and young. No history, sickness, fever. How can this happen?
A superficial clot is usually not a problem. Sounds like she may have had a deep vein thrombosis with a pulmonary embolism. This can embolize to the lung ad be fatal if severe enough.
If the ultrasound did not show this, it is possible it developed after the scan was done, or arose from a vein not in the legs.
I'm terribly sorry for your loss.
Michael D. Ingegno, MD
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Though most superficial blood clots run a benign course, one of every ten is found to have a deep vein clot with initial presentation. Additional research has shown that when the superficial thrombosis involves the saphenous veins, vessels that are deep to the surface but not considered deep veins, that one in three already has evidence of pulmonary embolus (blood clot that travelled to the lungs).
The key is that a superficial clot may extend and may lead to complications as you have described. The treatment for superficial thrombosis is controversial, yet moving from one of bedrest, warm compresses and elevation, to a more aggressive treatment involving walking, compression therapy, and anticoagulation.
This condition speaks to the knowledge gap regarding venous disease and complications of varicose veins and how the majority of physicians have been taught that this condition is benign. It is just not so.
I am sincerely sorry for your loss.
I am very sorry to hear of this tragedy and offer my condolences on your
loss. Some superficial clots can progress to the deep system and
infrequently (rarely) may break loose and travel to the heart and then to
the pulmonary arteries.
I am so sorry for your loss. Superficial clots should not lead to a pulmonary embolism. Your wife must have had a DVT, possibly either in her deep leg veins or her pelvic veins. If there was no obvious cause of the clot, then she could have had an underlying clotting disorder. You should follow up with her treating physician to see if the ultrasound was positive for DVT, to see if she was placed on anticoagulation and to see if she was prone to clotting.