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Here’s what blood clots in the lungs can do, according to the Mayo Clinic

Patriots center David Andrews in May.AP/File/Associated Press

New England Patriots center David Andrews has been released from the hospital after being treated for blood clots in his lungs, a league source has confirmed to the Globe’s Jim McBride.

There are no further details available on the durable Patriots mainstay’s condition, but McBride reports that the clots could put his season in jeopardy.

Blood clots in the lungs typically begin in the deep veins of the legs. When they reach the lungs, they create dangerous blockages, or pulmonary embolisms, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Aaron Waxman, director of the pulmonary vascular disease program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said if Andrews were his patient, his first questions would be whether Andrews had sustained an injury of some kind in his legs that could have led to the formation of a clot.


Waxman said he would also want to ask Andrews about his family history and do some blood testing to see if he had a genetic predisposition to clotting.

If what “provoked” the clot can be determined, the current approach would be to put the patient on blood thinners for three months to prevent more clotting and give the body time to clear out the clot, Waxman said.

He said blood thinners could pose a problem for someone like Andrews, who plays football.

“You just think about what football players put themselves through. ... You don’t want people banging around and hurting themselves” while on anticoagulants, he said.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he were benched while on a blood thinner,” he said.

If doctors can’t figure out why Andrews suffered the blood clot — and can’t be sure it won’t happen again — “then he may have to be on a blood thinner for a much longer period of time,” Waxman said.

Pulmonary embolisms can be life-threatening, but prompt treatment greatly reduces the risk of death, according to the Mayo Clinic website.


In addition to injuries and genetic predisposition, other risk factors for blood clots include heart disease, certain types of cancer, and surgery.

Still other risk factors include: Smoking, being overweight, supplemental use of estrogen for birth control or hormone replacement therapy, and being pregnant. Prolonged immobility, such as being confined to bed or sitting in a plane or car for a long trip, can also contribute to the formation of clots.

Most hospitals take preventive steps to prevent blood clots, including giving blood thinners to people at risk of clots before and after operations, as well as people admitted to the hospital with heart attacks, strokes, or complications of cancer, the Mayo Clinic said.

Other preventive steps include having people wear compression stockings, elevate their legs, and be physically active after surgery, the Mayo Clinic said.

If you’re at risk for blood clots and are traveling, preventive steps include: Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding alcohol; standing up and moving around once an hour, whether you’re in a car or plane, and doing a few deep knee bends; fidgeting in your car or plane seat and flexing your ankles every 15 to 30 minutes; and wearing compression stockings, the Mayo Clinic advised.