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Are varicose veins blood clots?

This is a question I’ve been asked before. The short answer is NO – varicose veins are NOT blood clots. But varicose veins have a higher risk of developing blood clots than normal healthy veins. Varicose veins are dilated malfunctioning veins with faulty valves. Blood clots can occur in veins when the blood is moving slowly. Varicose veins often have sluggish slow moving blood. If a varicose vein develops a blood clot it is called a superficial venous thrombosis (SVT). A SVT feels like a painful swollen vein that has recently become harder and more painful than normal. About 20% of SVT can extend into the deep vein system. Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in the deeper venous system and is known as a DVT. A small number of DVT can break off and travel to the lung to become a clot known as a pulmonary embolism or a PE.

In summary varicose veins are NOT blood clots but they do carry a higher risk of developing blood clots when compared with normal healthy veins.

If you suspect one of your varicose veins has developed a blood clot see your doctor urgently and get an ultrasound scan to confirm the diagnosis.

Delphi Clinic can accept self-referrals from patients, and we are happy to assess the health of your veins on site in our spacious clinic with our caring staff.