Atrial fibrillation is a rapid and irregular beating of the heart chambers. These fast, irregular heartbeats make it hard for the heart to empty its chambers properly. Some blood may pool in the heart chamber and cause a clot to form. This clot may break free and travel through the bloodstream, possibly lodging in the brain and causing a stroke.
A risk of a surgically replaced heart valve is that a blood clot may form on the replaced valve, which is seen by the body as “sticky.” This clot may break free, lodging elsewhere in the body.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots form in the deep blood vessels of the legs, groin or arms. These clots prevent blood from returning to the heart and are quite painful. There is also a chance that they may break free, lodging elsewhere in the body, especially the lungs (see pulmonary embolism, below).
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a clot is lodged in a blood vessel in the lungs. Clots within the lungs can prevent proper oxygen exchange and cause shortness of breath, chest pain and heart failure.
A cerebrovascular accident is another name used to describe a stroke. There can be several causes of a stroke, including a blood clot becoming lodged in the brain. When this occurs, the brain becomes deprived of oxygen.
Total Joint Replacement
When a hip or knee joint is replaced, it takes time for the joint to heal and for the patient to regain presurgery mobility. During this period of limited movement, there is an opportunity for a clot to form.