There are at least 12 causes of blood clots or deep vein thromboses in children. No age is immune.
Blood clots can occur anywhere in the body, but when they occur in larger vessels, they can become a serious problem.
When it comes to any kind of blood clot anywhere in the body of a child, the list of causes grows. Not all blood clots are a deep vein thrombosis.
For example, a blood clot can occur in the brain due to head trauma.
Causes of Blood Clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis in the Pediatric Population
“Genetic clotting disorders are very common,” begins Dr. Lisa Lewis, MD, a board certified pediatrician in Fort Worth, Texas, and author of “Feed the Baby Hummus, Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World.”
“Other causes include certain medications, surgery, anomalies of the blood vessels (for example a blood vessel that is not developed properly), immune system disorders, heart disease, immobility due to a medical condition or hospitalization, injuries, infection and cancer.”
Poor Blood Circulation
This can result from excessive inertia or constriction of a vein. Excessive inertia can easily be remedied by imposing limitations on how much time is spent watching TV and sitting around with a smartphone or computer game.
Turn the TV off and tell your child to go outside and play. HOWEVER, the directive of “go outside and play” is often not enough to encourage physical activity in a sedentary child.
But at least squatting down and making mud patties engages more muscles than does slumping on a couch staring at a screen.
Make sure your child has ready access to items that encourage movement: various balls, skates and other implements.
This can even include an air-filled striking bag for kids to have fun punching and kicking at.
A mini trampoline is also an option for older kids to offset inertia — and hence, reduce the risk of blood clots.
Damage to a Vein’s Inner Lining
Catheter placement into a vein can damage the inner lining of the vessel. Certain medications can also have this effect.
When children present with a DVT or pulmonary embolus, a combination of the above potential causes is often present.
Birth Control Pills
“Adolescents on birth control pills are more at risk of clotting disorders,” says Dr. Lewis.
“This is enhanced by smoking. Smoking is an independent risk factor for the formation of a deep vein thrombosis. So is obesity.
“At times a blood clot forms in a child for no apparent reason,” adds Dr. Lewis.
“A blood clot forms for various reasons depending on the cause. In general, a clot forms because of a cause that activates the components of clotting. For example, children with genetic clotting disorders may be missing a protein necessary for normal blood flow.”
Having 20+ years’ experience, Dr. Lewis completed her pediatrics residency at Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Scott and White Memorial Hospital. For two years afterward she was assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Texas A&M University Health Science Center.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.