Being young, active, and in great shape is no guarantee. We are very happy to learn that Serena Williams is well and recuperating quickly at home in Los Angeles after surgery to remove a blood clot from her lung.
Williams needed emergency treatment due to complications from a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung). This condition began as a clot in her leg, known as a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), resulting from recent foot surgery. A piece of the clot broke free, traveled to her lungs, creating a pulmonary embolism. Up to 2 million Americans develop a DVT each year, and pulmonary embolisms affect at least 100,000.
Despite the anti-coagulant medication one receives going into surgery there is still risk of developing blood clots in the legs which can travel to the lungs. That is why most patients are put into anti-embolism stockings as they recuperate in the hospital.
CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton suggests if you have had recent surgery and you know you are going on long travel there are things you should do for prevention. You want to get up every hour when you’re not sleeping, move your feet, stretch your legs, do a little bit of exercise. Keep yourself well-hydrated. And there are certain compression stockings that you can get, either knee-high or full-length stockings that I suggest to all my patients who take a long flight wear.