Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT )… A blood test that measures the length of time (in seconds) that it takes for clotting to occur when certain substances are added to the liquid portion of blood in a test tube. It is used to detect clotting factor deficiencies and to monitor heparin’s effectiveness. Learn More..
APS may occur in those with lupus or related autoimmune diseases. It may also occur as a primary syndrome (Primary ABS) in otherwise healthy individuals.
Artery… Any of the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart and to the various parts of the body.
Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) … A technique used primarily to measure the oxygen level of the blood with precision.
Atrial Fibrillation … An abnormal rhythm or heartbeat pattern involving the atria or upper chambers of the heart. It can interrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart, allowing clots to form. These clots can potentially travel through the arteries, lodge in the brain and cause strokes.
Blood Clot … Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a thrombus.
Budd Chairi Syndrome… Thrombosis of the (hepatic) veins coming from the liver, usually presenting with abdominal pain, enlargement of the liver and fluid in the abdomen.
CDC… government healthcare agency, located in Atlanta, GA, whose mission is to collaborate to create the expertise, information, and the tools that people and communities need to protect their health-
Clotting Disorders… term used to describe a group of inherited or acquired conditions in which there is an increased tendency for blood to clot. They are also called thrombophilias.
Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension (CTEPH)… High blood pressure in the lungs that occurs in a small percentage of those who have had pulmonary embolism. The problem usually progresses but may be cured with surgery.
Coagulation… complex process by which clots form in the blood.
Coagulometer… A device used to measure the INR for warfarin monitoring.
Computerised axial tomography scanner (CT scan) …A noninvasive imaging technique that passes X-
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)… blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the legs, pelvis or arms, although it occurs most often in the legs. Signs and symptoms include swelling, usually in one leg, leg pain or tenderness, reddish or bluish skin discoloration, and leg warm to touch. A clot may break off and travel to other parts of the body, most commonly the lungs as a pulmonary embolism (PE).
Duplex Ultrasound… This method combines two kinds of ultrasound. The conventional ultrasound shows the structure of blood vessels and the Doppler ultrasound shows the movement of red blood cells through the vessels. It produces images that can be color coded to show physicians where blood flow is severely blocked as well as the speed and direction of blood flow.
Economy Class Syndrome… The occurrence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in airline travelers due to cramped conditions compounded by inactivity, especially on long haul flights. The term was first coined in the late 1980’s when it was observed that people who had traveled long distances by plane were at an increased risk for blood clots, especially DVT, resulting often in a pulmonary embolism.
Embolus …A blood clot that detaches from the inside of a blood vessel and travels in the bloodstream (can also be fat, air, or a piece of tumor).
Endothelium… The lining of a blood vessel. A patient is more susceptible to a blood clot when the endothelium is damaged from trauma or a previous blood clot.
Factor V deficiency… An inherited bleeding disorder in which the clotting factor V (five) is low. The disorder is very rare, occurring in only 1 in 1,000,000 people. This is not the same as factor V Leiden.
Factor V Leiden (FVL)… An inherited blood clotting disorder that is found in 5% of Caucasian Americans and 1.2% of African-
Fibrin… This is a solid substance (formed from fibrinogen) that makes a clot harder to break up. It forms the mesh or net that holds platelets in place.
Fibrinogen… A specialized protein or clotting factor found in blood. When a blood vessel is injured, thrombin, another clotting factor, is activated and changes fibrinogen to fibrin.
Fitted Elastic Compression Stockings…These provide counter-
Fresh Frozen Plasma… This is used to reverse warfarin by replacing clotting factors.
Genetic Counselling… the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. It includes interpreting family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurring or recurring; educating about inherited risk, testing, management, prevention, resources and research; and counseling to promote informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition.
Haematologist /Hematologist… physician who specializes in the treatment of blood diseases and disorders. Many combine haematology with oncology (cancer specialist) and treat cancer and blood diseases.
Heparin… an anticoagulant medicine (“blood thinner) used to treat blood clots, most often during hospitalisation.
Heterozygous… Having one abnormal gene. If you are heterozygote for factor V Leiden, you have inherited the trait from one parent.
Homocysteine… An amino acid found in the blood. High homocysteine levels are a risk factor for blood clots in the veins (DVT, PE) or arteries (heart attack, stroke), and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Hypercoaguable…an abnormally increased tendency to form blood clots, due to an inherited or acquired disorder.
Homocystinuria… A rare hereditary disease due to a deficiency of an enzyme needed to prevent the buildup of homocysteine in the blood.
Homozygous… Having two abnormal genes. If you are homozygote for factor V Leiden, you inherited an abnormal gene from both parents.
INR (International Normalized Ratio)… blood test that monitors whether the therapeutic or beneficial effect of anticoagulation is within normal range, usually between 2.0 and 3.0. It is calculated from the pro thrombin time (PT), or the time it takes for blood to clot in a test tube. INR can be monitored by a lab, or done by selected patients at home with a self-
Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWH)… A form of heparin (“blood thinner”) that is injected right below the skin. LMWHs’ effects last longer and are more predictable, require less monitoring, and generally have fewer side effects than standard heparin. LMWHs are often used as an alternative to heparin or as “bridging” therapy for patients on oral anticoagulants.
Lupus Anticoagulant… A type of antiphospholipid antibody associated with an increased risk for blood clots.
Lymphedema…Swelling in the hands and feet caused by blockage of the lymphatic transport system.
Lysis… The process by which a clot is dissolved or destroyed. It can occur naturally over time or be accomplished by clot-
Lytic therapy… A clot-
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)… A test that images clots in the body. While MRI does a better job of imaging the veins in the pelvis, abdomen and chest than ultrasound, ultrasound for the legs is generally adequate.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) …An imaging technique that uses powerful magnets to create very clear images of the inside of the body.
Myocardial Infarction… Heart attack. The death of an area of heart muscle.
Plasma… The liquid portion of blood that contains the clotting factors.
Plasminogen… A substance naturally produced by the body that helps break down blood clots.
Platelets… Small particles in the blood that control bleeding; they form clusters to plug small holes in blood vessels and assist in the clotting process.
Polycythemia… The presence of too many red blood cells, which, if severe, may predispose a patient to DVT.
Protein C Deficiency… Protein C deficiency is an uncommon clotting disorder: approximately 1 per 700 people has inherited protein C deficiency. Since we all have two genes for every protein (one from mother and one from father), people can have two normal genes (healthy), one mutated protein C gene (heterozygous), or two mutated genes (homozygous). Individuals with protein C deficiency are typically heterozygous. Homozygous individuals have such a severe clotting problem, that they typically die immediately after birth because of clotting everywhere; this is termed Purpura fulminans /Purpura gangrenosa.
Protein C deficiency can be caused by more than 100 different mutations in the protein C gene. This makes genetic testing for the defect very difficult, time-
Protein S Deficiency… Protein S deficiency is an uncommon clotting disorder: approximately 1 per 500 to 1 per 3,000 people has inherited protein S deficiency. Since we all have two genes for every protein (one from mother and one from father), people can have two normal genes (healthy), one mutated protein S gene (heterozygous), or two mutated genes (homozygous). Individuals with protein S deficiency are typically heterozygous. Homozygous individuals have such a severe clotting problem, that they typically die immediately after birth because of clotting everywhere; this is termed Purpura fulminans / Purpura gangrenosa.
Protein S deficiency can be caused by more than 100 different mutations in the protein S gene. This makes genetic testing for the defect very difficult, time-
Pro thrombin Deficiency… Prothrombin (= factor II) is 1 of the approximately 15 clotting proteins that is needed to stop us from bleeding. If you are low in prothrombin, you have a tendency to bleed.
Prothrombin Time (PT)… A blood test that measures the length of time (in seconds) that it takes for clotting to occur when certain substances are added to the liquid portion of blood in a test tube. It is used to detect clotting factor deficiencies and to monitor heparin’s effectiveness.
Pulmonary Angiogram…The most definitive test to diagnose PE, this is an invasive test requiring injection of a dye through a catheter (IV line) into the body.
Pulmonary Embolism (PE)… blood clot in the lungs, a serious complication of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Signs and symptoms include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain that is sharp or stabbing that may get worse with a deep breath, rapid heart rate, and/or unexplained cough, sometimes with bloody mucus. Pulmonary embolism may be fatal in about 1 out of 3 people.
Pulmonary Infarction… The death of a small area of lung resulting from pulmonary embolism. It occurs in a small, dead-
Pulse Oximetry… A noninvasive (no blood needed) method used to monitor the percentage of hemoglobin that is saturated with oxygen.
Spontaneous DVT… A clot that forms when there are no identified risk factors. Of those who develop a spontaneous DVT, 20-
Stroke… A condition that occurs when oxygen-
Superficial Thrombophlebitis …A blood clot that forms in an inflamed part of a vein near the surface of the body.
Tissue Factor… A protein exposed to the blood when a blood vessel is injured. The tissue factor sets off a chain reaction – the coagulation cascade – that activates a series of clotting factors.
Thrombin… The clotting factor that converts fibrinogen to fibrin.
Thrombocytopenia … A low platelet count.
Thrombocytosis (Thrombocythemia) … Too many platelets in the blood. It may predispose a patient to thrombosis.
Thrombophilia … hereditary or acquired predisposition to develop blood clots. It is also referred to as hypercoagulable state or hypercoagulability.
Thrombosis / Thrombus … blood clot that forms within a blood vessel.
Thrombus … medical term for a blood clot.
Transient Is chemic Attack (TIA)… Often called a “mini stroke” but transient (short term) in nature–symptoms last less than 48 hours.
Vena Cava… A very large vein that returns blood from organs and extremities to the right side of the heart.
Vena Caval Filter… A device inserted to prevent PE in patients with DVT and/or PE when anticoagulants fail or cannot be used.
Venography / Venogram… An X-
Venous … means related to veins
Venous Thrombo Embolism (VTE)… collective “umbrella” term for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
Vitamin K… A vitamin essential to the production of the active forms of clotting factors II, VII, IX and X in the liver.
Warfarin…Anticoagulant or “blood thinning” medicine. Used originally as a rat killer in 1948.
Varicose vein…A vein that is abnormally widened and twisted due to defective valves in the vein.