Woman ‘miraculously’ survived multiple blood clots – symptoms to spot

British Heart Foundation: Understanding blood clots

Blood clots are small clumps of blood that form a gel-like substance.

Some clotting is needed as it prevents excessive bleeding if you get a cut.

However, clots that don’t dissolve have the potential to be dangerous as they can spread to other parts of the body blocking blood flow.

For one young woman this became a life-or-death situation as she was diagnosed with clots in both her arms and lungs.

Suzanne Lambregts from Alberta in Canada was first diagnosed with blood clots in June 2011.

Doctors found deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in her left arm and an acute pulmonary embolism in her left lung.

The then 19-year-old shared her story through the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012, and said: “I was working in a saw mill piling lumber when at work I suddenly had to hyperventilate just to breathe.

“I took a few days off work on bed rest and it seemed to settle down.

“So I returned to work, and that same night my left arm swelled to at least twice its normal size.

“I then saw two different doctors before one suggested that they should look for clots and that’s when my clots were found.”

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Doctors were unsure as to why the clots had formed despite carrying out tests.

After two months she was able to regain her strength, getting back to work and starting college.

But she said: “I seemed to be responding well to the blood thinners until around Christmas time when I started getting random chest pains.

“Also, my left arm would swell after any massages I did.”

In January she suddenly doubled over with chest pains.

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She went to the emergency department, however, her vital signs were stable so she was sent home and told to return the next day for an ultrasound.

“They then found that my subclavian vein had blood clots again and that there was a large mass in my right lung,” Suzanne said.

“Angels must have been looking after me because again, I survived. This time internal medicine doctors ran a variety of tests and nothing abnormal came back.

“We were all at a loss for words. I used to be an extremely healthy and active girl, but once you get hit with two blood clots, even daily life changes.

“I’m young, and have no idea if another clot will hit, but I’m a survivor of a silent killer that could have taken me the first time.”

In April the same year she experienced “extreme” chest pains.

Suzanne “panicked” and drove herself to hospital where a scan found two “newer” clots in her right lung.

Now aged 30, Suzanne is an author and entrepreneur.

She added: “You may know me as the girl who miraculously survived two pulmonary embolisms.

“Despite all the hardships I have encountered, I will not dwell on the damage that has been left behind. These blood clots do not define me for who I am.”

Common symptoms of DVT include:

  • Throbbing or cramping pain
  • Swelling
  • Warm skin around the painful area
  • Red or darkened skin around the painful area
  • Swollen veins that are hard or sore when you touch them.

Signs of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Difficulty breathing that comes on suddenly
  • Chest pain that’s worse when you breathe in
  • Coughing up blood.

If you think you could have a blood clot you should seek immediate medical help.

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