Entries in Blood Clots (18)


Louisiana Woman Awakens After Giving Birth with Blood Clot in Brain

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- Tommy Scott came home from work on May 22 to find his wife Amber, who was nearly 38 weeks pregnant, lying immobile on the bed.

“She was conscious, but she was -- it’s hard to describe -- one eye was open and she was breathing heavily, but she couldn’t talk,” Tommy said.

Doctors at Slidell Memorial Hospital near New Orleans found that Amber Scott had a blood clot in her brain.  Amber underwent an emergency Caesarean section, delivering a healthy girl, Adeline, at 8:42 p.m.  Surgery to remove the blood clot immediately followed and was finished just after midnight.

Amber, a 29-year-old audiologist, was transferred to West Jefferson Medical Center on May 24 to undergo further treatment. She spent the next two weeks in a minimally conscious state. She was sometimes responsive to her environment and would try to move her arms spontaneously, said Dr. Andrea Toomer, one of her rehabilitation physicians.

On Friday, Amber was moved to the rehab unit to begin an extensive recovery process. “She has to start from scratch, like an infant. The main thing is they want her to feel at home, teach her how to get dressed again, teach her how to feed the baby, hold the baby,” Tommy said.

Holding Adeline was a milestone Amber reached Sunday, the first time she could see her baby, more than a month after giving birth to her.

“In physical therapy, they’ve been teaching her different facial expressions, like smiling, which looks kind of like a smirk right now. First thing when she saw Adeline, she had that smirk on her face,” Tommy said.

“By the time she leaves our rehab unit in three or four weeks, we think she’ll need minimal assistance to do her daily activities, doing maybe 75 percent of them herself. That’s in the short term. I think she’ll continue to improve beyond that,” Dr. Toomer said.

Tommy Scott said he knows they have a long road ahead of them but feels very hopeful.

“Compared to where we were a month ago, we didn’t know if she was going to survive. Now she’s in therapy and we’re talking about getting her home.”

Tommy feels especially grateful for the amount of support they’ve received.

“Of course we have our friends and family, but people we’ve never met across the country are contacting us.  I got a call from a lady in Miami who said she had gone through something very similar to Amber -- she had a brain clot while pregnant -- and wanted me to know that she and her baby were both fine now.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Blood Clot Risk Higher in Non-Oral Contraceptives, Study Says

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women who use non-oral hormonal contraceptives, like patches and vaginal rings, may be at higher risk of blood clots than those who take oral forms of birth control, according to a new Danish study published in the journal BMJ.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen analyzed national data from more than 1.6 million healthy women ages 15 to 49 who took various forms of birth control. They found that women who took birth control pills were at three times the risk of blood clots than those who did not use any type of hormonal birth control, but those who used other types of non-oral hormonal contraceptives were at a higher risk. Women who used skin patches were at eight times an increased risk of blood clots and those who used vaginal rings had a 6.5 percent increased risk.

Patches and vaginal rings continuously release hormones into the body to prevent pregnancy. The study suggests that some women talk with their doctor about switching from non-oral hormone contraceptives if they are already at high risk for blood clots.

People who are overweight, inactive, those who smoke and have a family history of blood clots are all at increased risk. Certain medical conditions also increase a person's risk.

"The important thing is that women are informed about the risk of VT for different product types," said Øjvind Lidegaard of the University of Copenhagen and lead author of the study. "Then I think they can decide themselves whether they want to continue of switch to another product. For young women, the most obvious alternative is a low-dose second-generation pill with levonorgestrel."

Almost half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 10.7 million women in the U.S. use birth control pills.

But experts noted the limitations of the study, pointing out that the research did not account for excess fat and smoking habits, both recognized risk factors of blood clots.

Dr. Paula Hillard, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine, noted that the risk of venous thrombosis during pregnancy can be much higher than the numbers tallied in the study.

"The combined hormonal contraceptives, even those that the authors found to have an increased risk of venous thrombosis compared to other specific combination oral contraceptives, are associated with a higher risk than an individual would experience if she were pregnant," said Hillard. "Thus, preventing unintended pregnancy is health promoting."

While non-oral hormonal contraceptives did indeed show a higher risk of blood clots, Hillard said individuals must consider which option is best and most effective.

"The patch and the ring are methods that may be more effective at preventing pregnancy compared to methods that require daily use of a pill, which is difficult to take correctly and consistently day in and day out," said Hillard.

Of note, authors found that intrauterine devices, or IUDs, a T-shaped plastic or copper device that is placed in a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy, was not associated with blood clots. In fact, researchers said they were associated with a reduced risk and may have a protective effect against blood clots.

"Thus when discussing contraceptive options with women who might consider switching, the option of an IUD offers not only a method that is as effective as sterilization at preventing unintended pregnancy, and which lasts five or 10 years, but that also has a lower risk of venous thrombosis," said Hillard.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Drug Busts Blood Clots with Fewer Side Effects

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A new blood thinner offers simpler and safer treatment for pulmonary embolism, a deadly condition in which a lung blood vessel becomes blocked by a blood clot.

Venous blood clots have long been treated with warfarin, a drug fraught with food and drug interactions. On top of keeping a strict diet, patients must comply with frequent blood tests and complex dosing schedules.

But a new study suggests the drug rivaroxaban performs as well as warfarin in treating existing blood clots in the lung with less monitoring and fewer side effects.

“You don’t have to go to the lab to monitor. It’s a fixed dose. It is as effective, and it looks safer,” said study author Dr. Harry Bueller, professor of vascular medicine at the American Medical Center in Amsterdam.

Patients treated with rivaroxaban had similar rates of clot recurrence as patients treated with warfarin. But they had a lower rate of bleeding, with nearly half as many major bleeds as patients taking warfarin, according to the trial results presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.

Bueller said rivaroxaban may soon replace warfarin in treating venous blood clots because it’s easier to manage and appears to be safer.

“In those patients where we use warfarin today, we will gradually see replacement by these new anti-coagulants,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nick Cannon's Blood Clots Likely Caused by Kidney Problems

GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Nick Cannon stepped down from his daily radio show Friday after revealing he suffered another health setback last week, when doctors discovered he had blood clots in his lungs and an enlarged heart.

"The doctors found blood clots in my lungs and said if I don't slow down and stop working so hard then it's a wrap!" Cannon, 31, tweeted.

The actor, radio host and husband to Mariah Carey was hospitalized in January with kidney failure, which Cannon said contributed to his latest health scare.

"[Blood clots], on top of my previous condition, actually made me more prone to this," Cannon said. "If it isn't one thing, it's another."

African-American men in Cannon's age group are 14 times more likely than Caucasian men to develop kidney failure because of high blood pressure. Although it is unclear what contributed to Cannon's kidney failure, doctors said it likely caused the chain of events that led to the health problems Cannon is now experiencing.

"He may have some primary form of kidney disease. Sometimes, those can increase the risk of having blood clot events due to the loss of protein in the kidneys," Dr. William Abraham, the director of cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University, told ABC News. He has not treated Cannon.

Abraham added that blood clots in the lungs can cause the right side of the heart to become enlarged.

"The other thing that is possible is he could have a systemic disorder, such as lupus," Abraham said.

Cannon has not shared details of his treatment or his prognosis. However, Abraham said he is optimistic the new father's condition is completely treatable.

"The good news is at this point I would presume everything is potentially reversible," he said.

Abraham said Cannon is likely on blood thinners to reduce the two blood clots in his lungs and may have to take them for as short as a month or as long as the rest of his life to prevent future clots.

Although Cannon's condition is serious, the multitasking celebrity likely isn't bedridden and spending all of his time with doctors.

"He may be going in weekly or every couple of weeks," Abraham said. " And he is probably seeing a kidney specialist regularly."

Reducing his workload will allow Cannon to get more rest and hopefully improve his health.

"Even Superman has to sleep," Cannon said on his radio show.

Cannon's representative declined ABC News' request for an interview.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Where's the Best Place to Sit on a Plane to Avoid Blood Clots?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NORTHBROOK, Ill.) -- When it comes to health risks on long flights, it’s not what you pay for your seat, but where you sit that makes the difference.

New medical recommendations dispel the myth of “economy class syndrome,” the notion that cramped leg room in the cheap seats on long flights can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots in the legs. The clots can travel through the bloodstream to block blood flow to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, deadly in as many as 30 percent of sufferers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sitting in roomier first class seats won’t lower the risk of developing DVT, but sitting in an aisle seat will, according to the American College of Chest Physicians.

In the new guidelines published Tuesday in the journal Chest, doctors list sitting in a window seat as a risk factor for DVT.

“Traveling in economy class does not increase your risk for developing a blood clot, even during long-distance travel; however, remaining immobile for long periods of time will,” said Dr. Mark Crowther, one of the authors of the guidelines, in a statement. “Long-distance travelers sitting in a window seat tend to have limited mobility, which increases their risk for DVT.”

Advanced age, pregnancy, use of oral contraception and other forms of estrogen, recent surgery and obesity can also increase the risk of developing DVT during air travel, according to the guidelines. Still, there’s no evidence that dehydration or alcohol intake will cause clots to form.

Crowther emphasized that passengers rarely develop symptomatic DVT on airplanes, and those who do are usually on flights of eight to 10 hours and have at least one additional risk factor.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elephant Calf Dies Just Short of Groundbreaking Surgery

At just 25 days old, baby elephant called Lola plays in her enclosure at Munich Zoo Hellabrunn on Nov. 22, 2011 in Munich, Germany. Nadine Rupp/Getty Images(MUNICH) -- A baby elephant at a German zoo who suffered from heart problems has passed away.  Lola would’ve been the world’s first elephant to have heart surgery to remove a blood clot, but died during preparations for the operation.  At just three months, during a CTA scan, the calf suffered from a pulmonary embolism and could not be revived.

Zoo director and veterinarian Dr. Andreas Knieriem commented on Lola’s tragic death to the UK’s Daily Mail: "Considering the pathology, it has to be said it’s a miracle that she lived as long as she did. Her arteries were so blocked that blood couldn’t flow through her lungs anymore.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FDA to Review Safety Issues Surrounding Birth Control Pill Yaz

Bayer(WASHINGTON) -- Yaz was pitched as the blockbuster birth control pill with benefits, the choice for women desperate for relief from severe PMS and acne.  But now, several new independent studies have found that Yaz carries higher blood clotting risks than other leading birth control pills, leading to new scrutiny from safety regulators.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. David A. Kessler, who is now working for lawyers suing Bayer, which makes Yaz, is accusing the drugmaker of concealing the contraceptive's health risks.

"Bayer violated its duties under FDA regulations and state law by selectively presenting data as to [blood clotting] events," Kessler said in court documents, citing studies that Bayer itself conducted but allegedly misreported to regulators.

He indicated that if he had been head of the FDA in 2000 and knew what he knows now, he may not have approved the drug.

"In my opinion, had I, or a medical review officer, known these facts prior to approval, further investigation would be warranted," he wrote.

Citing conflicting safety studies, the FDA is holding hearings on Thursday to determine whether new safety measures, like package label changes, are warranted.

Bayer maintains that Yaz is safe.

"Based on a thorough assessment of the available scientific data, Bayer believes that its drospirenone-containing products are safe and effective and have a favorable benefit-risk profile when used in accordance with U.S. product labeling," Bayer spokeswoman Rose Talarico told ABC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Studies Find 'Yaz' Riskier Than Other Leading Birth Control Pills

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The blockbuster birth control pill with benefits, Yaz, was pitched as the choice for women desperate for relief from severe PMS and acne. But now, new independent studies have found that Yaz carries higher blood clotting risks than other leading birth control pills.

ABC News investigated to find that Yaz was never proven to treat common PMS.

In 2007, Carissa Ubersox, 24, was fresh out of college and starting her dream job as a pediatric nurse in Madison, Wis. On Christmas day, while working the holiday shift, her boyfriend surprised her at the hospital with a marriage proposal.

Wanting to look and feel her best for her wedding day, Carissa said she switched to Yaz after watching one of its commercials that suggested this pill could help with bloating and acne.

"Yaz is the only birth control proven to treat the physical and emotional premenstrual symptoms that are severe enough to impact your life," claimed the ad.

It "sounds like a miracle drug," Carissa said she remembers thinking.

But just three months later, in February 2008, Carissa's legs started to ache. She didn't pay much attention to it, assuming, she said, that it was just soreness from being on her feet for a 12-hour shift.

By the next evening, she was gasping for air. Blood clots in her legs had traveled through her veins to her lungs, causing a massive double pulmonary embolism.

Her fiancé called 911, but on the way to the hospital Carissa's heart stopped. Doctors revived her, but she slipped into a coma for almost two weeks.

Carissa's only memory of that time is something she refers to as an extraordinary dreamlike experience. She said she remembers a big ornate gate and seeing a recently deceased cousin.

That cousin, Carissa said, told her, "You can stay here with me or you can go back."

But, she recounted, he told her if she goes back she'll end up blind.

"I just remember waking up in the hospital and I was like, 'Oh, I guess I chose to stay,'" Carissa told ABC News.

Like her cousin in her dreamlike experience foretold, she actually did wake up blind, and remains blind to this day.

No one can say for sure whether Yaz caused Carissa's blindness, but Yaz contains a unique hormone called drospirenone that some experts say may trigger more blood clots than other birth control pills. Clots can cause serious breathing problems, a stroke or even death.

All birth control pills come with some risk. Two to four women per 10,000 on the pill will suffer blood clots, and some will die as a result. But with Yaz, several new independent studies have put that risk two to three times higher.

"It's a disappointing finding," said Dr. Susan Jick, author of one of those independent studies involving almost a million women. "As a public safety concern that's not what one wants to find."

Made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Yaz sales rocketed to nearly $2 billion a year after its release in 2006, making it at one time the leading birth control pill on the market and Bayer's top-selling drug.

And there was a lot of buzz surrounding Yaz, from popular women's magazines touting it as "the pill for PMS" and "super pill" to TV news segments, like one in Dallas that called Yaz, "a miracle pill that gets rid of most of the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS."

Some company executives apparently encouraged these exaggerated claims, ABC News has learned. Internal documents obtained by ABC News show their reactions: "[T]his is outstanding!!! Can we get Good Morning America to do the same segment!!!???!! (tee hee)," one executive wrote about the Dallas segment that called Yaz a miracle pill for PMS.

But the Food and Drug Administration wasn't amused. In 2008, the FDA said Yaz was not shown to be effective for common PMS, just a rare and serious form of menstrual symptoms, and that Yaz's success with acne was "misleadingly overstate(d)."

State authorities also accused Bayer of deceptive advertising.

Bayer denied any wrongdoing, but in an unusual legal settlement agreed to spend $20 million on corrective TV ads, which said, "Yaz is for the treatment of premenstrual dysphonic disorder, or PMDD, and moderate acne, not for the treatment of PMS or mild acne."

But by then, millions of women had already opted for Yaz.

Some experts say there is cause for concern about recent medical findings. Jick found it noteworthy that the studies funded by Bayer found no difference in risk, while all four of the most recent independent studies found increased risk.

Jick added that when she sent her study to Bayer, she was surprised that they never responded or asked to work with her.

"The studies that have found increased risks are not in the best interest of the company," Jick said.

Columbia University medical ethicist David Rothman added that, in general, "We have got to look at drug studies published by the company producing the products with a lot of suspicion. They have too much skin in the game."

Internal Bayer documents obtained by ABC News raise questions about some of the company's research. According to one report, Bayer apparently kept the name of one of two employees off a company-sponsored study because, according to an internal email, "there is a negative value to having a corporate author on the paper."

"It's really nefarious, a basic violation of scientific integrity, when the person who did the research doesn't even appear on the paper," said Rothman.

Thousands of women are now suing Bayer, including Carissa Ubersox, but the company continues to deny any wrongdoing. Citing those lawsuits, Bayer refused to be interviewed for this story and instead sent ABC News a statement saying Yaz is as safe as any other birth control pill when used correctly.

There are no answers yet for Carissa, whose life has changed forever. She is no longer a pediatric nurse, no longer engaged and, she said, "everything that I thought I worked so hard for has disappeared."

Yaz, she said, is to blame.

The FDA has re-opened the case on Yaz, conducting its own new review of the drug's safety. If you are considering your birth control options, experts say you should, as always, consult your own doctor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Dies From Blood Clot after Marathon Gaming Session

ABC News(SHEFFIELD, England) -- The family of a 20-year-old British man who died as a result of a blood clot that formed after playing video games for up to 12 hours a day is speaking out about the health risks obsessive gaming can pose.

David Staniforth told The Sun that his son, Chris, who was accepted into a game design program at Leicester University, spent most of his days playing the online Xbox game Halo.

The young man died in May from a deep vein thrombosis, the coroner told The Sun., a potentially deadly condition that can be caused by lack of activity. The night before he died, his father told the BBC he was likely up all night on his computer.

Staniforth was told by his son's friend that Chris said he felt a pounding in his chest after gaming his last night alive, but eventually fell asleep.

The next morning, Chris and his friend were going to apply for jobs but Chris collapsed outside the job center.

A deep vein thrombosis is a clot that forms in the deep veins in the legs. When the clot breaks off, it can move through the bloodstream and travel to the lungs, heart or other vital organs and cause blockages. The more common type is a pulmonary embolism, which happens when there's a blockage of the main artery that carries oxygenated blood to the lungs. If it's not treated, up to 30 percent of people with pulmonary embolism die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Playing video games, long car rides, and long plane rides predispose you to clots," said Dr. Phil Ragno, director of cardiovascular health and wellness at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

He warns that even though older, less active people are prone to blood clots because of more complicated medical histories, they can strike anyone of any age given the right circumstances.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sitting for Prolonged Time Increases Risk for Lung Blood Clots

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Sitting for long periods of time has already been associated with increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as elevated cholesterol, increased BMI and waist circumference, and increased levels of biomarkers of inflammation. Now, add lung blood clots to the list.

In a study published Monday in the British Medical Journal, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed medical records from almost 70,000 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study from 1990 to 2008 and found that those who sat for about six hours per day had more than double the risk of lung blood clots than women who sat for an average of two hours each day.

It is worth noting that the actual rate of lung blood clots increased from 0.04 percent in the most active women to 0.1 percent in the least active ones, making the actual risk of lung blood clots from sitting very, very small.

However, the authors still state that “interventions that decrease time sitting could lower the risk of pulmonary embolism [lung blood clots].”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio