Step 1 - Blood clots information

Blood clots and YOU

While occurrence of spontaneous blood clots is well known, YOU are more at risk of developing a BLOOD CLOT after surgery or a procedure than when you take a long distance flight aboard an aircraft. Blood clots can happen to anyone at any time, so it's important for you to know the risk factors and to know that certain events or situations may provoke or trigger a blood clot forming. This is why it is important for you to be aware of and know what you can do to protect yourself.

Southern Cross Hospitals is committed to providing the highest possible standard of care and we want our consumers to be active partners with us.  We recommend you talk to your surgeon or physician about your personalised blood clot prevention plan.

We conducted consumer research* to discover how best to enable blood clots risk awareness and provided a tool (the Blood clots and YOU brochure, provided in your Admission Pack or accessible online) for patients to care for themselves.

The following information is provided so that you can understand the risks associated with venous thromboembolism (VTE) or blood clots. This will allow you to take steps to reduce your chances of suffering from this serious, and sometimes life threatening, condition.


Note: This website is for information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult the doctors caring for you for such advice.

Venous thromboembolism (VTE)
describes the whole process by which clots form and travel through the blood stream. ‘Venous’ means to do with veins which carry blood to the heart and lungs. The most common type of VTE is a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can break off and become a life threatening pulmonary embolus (PE).

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

DVT is a medical condition that occurs when a thrombus (blood clot) forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg or pelvis, leading to either partially or completely blocked blood flow.

If this blood clot in the leg is not treated, it can slowly develop into an extremely disabling condition, marked by pain, discomfort, swelling, rashes or – in severe cases – a skin ulcer. This is known as a post-thrombotic syndrome. It happens because the vein is blocked and this may damage the leg tissue.

A DVT in itself may not be life threatening; however it can give rise to a serious problem known as pulmonary embolus (PE).

What is PE?

Part of a blood clot may break off, travel to and obstruct blood vessels to the lungs, greatly reducing their blood supply. This dangerous condition is known as a pulmonary embolus, or PE.

This may result in sudden breathing difficulties and may be fatal.

Signs of a pulmonary embolus (PE) may include: