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Hypercoagulable states

  • Definition

    Hypercoagulable state is a condition in which you are more likely to develop blood clots. Blood clots can develop in either arteries or veins.

    See also:

    • Blood clots in the legs
    • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT)
    • Hepatic vein obstruction (Budd-Chiari syndrome)
    • Mesenteric vein thrombosis
    • Pulmonary embolus
    • Stroke

    Alternative Names

    Thromboembolic states; Factor V Leiden; Prothrombin mutation 20210A


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Hypercoagulable states fall into two groups:

    • Inherited
    • Acquired

    Inherited means you are born with the tendency to form abnormal blood clots. Common inherited conditions that affect clotting are factor V Leiden and the prothrombin mutation 20210A. Rare inherited conditions include protein C, protein S, and antithrombin III deficiencies.

    Acquired means you develop the tendency to form abnormal blood clots later in life. Some medical situations can lead to the formation of abnormal blood clots. These include cancer, recent surgery or trauma, obesity, liver or kidney disease, and use of certain medications.

    Situations that can lead to the formation of blood clots include prolonged bedrest, dehydration, poor positioning (such as crossing the legs), sitting for long periods (such as in a plane or car), and long-term use of an intravenous catheter.

    Women who take birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy are more likely to develop blood clots. This risk is greatly increased in those who also smoke. The time before, during, and after pregnancy also increases the risk of clots.