Updated 30 July 2014

Symptoms of a blood clot

The symptoms depend on the location of the blood clot in the body.

The symptoms depend on the location of the blood clot in the body. 

Where Blood Clot is Lodged

Possible Symptoms

Lung (Pulmonary embolism)

Sharp chest pain, rapid heart rate, blood-tinged coughing, shortness of breath and low grade fever

Arm or Leg

(like Deep vein thrombosis)

A blood clot in an artery can cause sudden pain, swelling and a slight blue colouration. If it is in a vein, then it could cause swelling and tenderness.

Brain (Stroke)

Visual disturbances, weakness, seizure, speech impairment, leading to a stroke or a transient ischemic event. Artherosclerotic plaques in the carotid artery can lead to blood clots lodging in the carotid artery or deep in the brain.

Heart (Heart attack)

Chest pain could lead to a heart attack. Blood clots forming in the heart can also travel to any organ or artery in the body. Conditions that can lead to blood clots forming in the heart include heart valve disease, previous heart attack, atrial fibrillation and heart failure.


Severe abdominal pain, vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa


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Stroke Expert

Dr Naeem Brey completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery) degree in 2003 at the University of Cape Town. In 2010 he started he started specialising in Neurology at Tygerberg Hospital and graduated with his specialist exam in FCNeurol (Fellowship of the College of Neurology) in May 2013.

He has a particular interest in stroke as well autoimmune and demyelinating neurological illnesses. Read more about Dr Naeem Brey

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