Non-cancerous Blood Disorders
Dedicated programs to treat children who are prone to developing blood clots
Care for Blood Clots in Children
Coagulation — the process by which blood clots are formed — is complex. When too much coagulation happens, it can lead to the development of a blood clot that can block a blood vessel, similar to a clogged pipe. This can happen in both arteries and veins, but it is more common in veins. This clot is called a thrombus and its development is called thrombosis. If the clot becomes large enough to block blood flow, it can keep some tissues of the body from getting the oxygen they need. In very serious cases, a blood clot can travel to the lungs to cause a pulmonary embolism.
NewYork-Presbyterian's children's hospitals feature pediatric hematologists with expertise in treating blood clots in children. Through the renowned Pediatric Hemostasis & Thrombosis Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital and the Clinical Thrombosis Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, our specialists provide onsite screening, diagnostic, treatment, counseling, and support services to young patients with an increased risk of blood clots and their complications. Our goal is to help your child have the most active, enjoyable life possible.
If your child has a blood clot, their symptoms may vary depending on where the blood clot is.
- A blood clot in a vein in an arm or leg may lead to swelling, warmth, pain, or a change in skin color (more reddish or purplish).
- A blood clot in the lungs could lead to shortness of breath, fast heart rate, cough, chest pain, and possibly fainting.
- A blood clot in the brain could lead to headache, vomiting, increased sleepiness, and if very severe, seizures.
How we diagnose thrombosis
Tests for thrombosis include:
- Blood tests to examine blood counts and see how the blood is clotting
- Imaging exams such as Doppler ultrasound, CT scanning, or MRI to assess how the blood is flowing through a vessel and see if there is a blood clot
- Since the cause of thrombosis may be hereditary, we may perform genetic testing on your child, and we also offer genetic counseling to interested family members.
Our Approach to Care
Our care teams include pediatric hematologists with years of experience treating thrombosis, as well as nurses and nurse practitioners, physical therapists, social workers, genetic counselors, and special laboratory personnel who perform blood clotting tests. When an adolescent approaches young adulthood, we provide transitional care to encourage them to become independent advocates of their health. We provide your child's care for a lifetime.
Our approach to the treatment of thrombosis begins with finding out why the blood clot occurred, removing any risk factors we have identified, and sometimes using blood thinners called "anti-coagulants." The use of blood thinners must be carefully monitored to reduce the risk of blood clots without increasing the risk of excessive bleeding. We try to minimize the time your child is on blood thinners while decreasing the risk of the clot getting bigger, traveling somewhere else in the body, or coming back in the future. Your child's care team regularly monitors their health to lower the chance of future complications.
Why Choose Us
We know that as the parent of a child with a risk of blood clots, you may feel anxious and worried. We provide education and counseling so you can understand your child's diagnosis and feel more confident about taking care of their health. In addition to standard treatments, your child may be offered participation in a clinical trial of a promising new therapy conducted by Weill Cornell Medicine or Columbia University investigators. From diagnosis through adolescence and into adulthood, we are here to provide all the care your child may need. Call us to make an appointment.