Friday, March 4, 2011
Serena Williams Has Serious Lung Blood Clot
Although it is speculation, I can try to piece the scenario together of how Serena Williams was afflicted with a PE. She cut her foot on glass last July after winning Wimbledon and has not been in a tournament since then. She underwent an operation in October and possibly a 2nd surgery since then. She had a protective boot removed and then flew 6 hours to LA for the Academy Awards. Immobilization (wearing a cast) coupled with a long flight can cause a blood clot to form in the large leg veins, a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It is the clot from a DVT that travels to the lung and causes the PE.
It can happen to anyone. Some people have a genetic predisposition for a DVT. Estrogen, birth control pills, smoking, prolonged immobilization, pregnancy, broken bones or trauma, underlying cancer can all be risk factors for forming a DVT.
In the hospital, we are very careful to prevent DVT by using leg supports and treatments, getting patients up and moving and even anticoagulants to prevent clots. Patients who undergo orthopedic surgery (joint replacement or trauma repair) are at particularly high risk as is anyone who is lying in bed or immobilized for a long period of time
Serena is home recovering now and she will be on blood thinner medication for many months.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:52 AM