Can A CT Show A Blood Clot?

Yes, it can.  The CT has to be done with IV contrast.  This means that contrast dye is given through your vein before the CT is done.  Normally blood vessels look bright after giving iv contrast.  A clot will look dark in a normally bright blood vessel.

Blood clots can happen in many parts of the body.  They can happen in veins and arteries.  Blood clots can form in the blood vessel or travel from somewhere else in the circulation.  Blood clots can be dangerous.  They can be deadly in some cases, like when they occurs in lungs.

Clots in the brain

Blood clots can occur in the veins of the head.  These are called Dural venous sinus thrombosis.  These types of clots can cause strokes and bleeding in the brain.  They are best seen on CT exams done after giving iv contrast.  Clots in the large arteries can cause stroke as well.

Blood clots in the chest

Blood clots in the chest usually travel from the legs.  These are called pulmonary emboli and occur in the arteries of the lungs.  There can be one small clot or many large ones.  These clots can cause problems with blood circulation to the lung and can cause the heart to become strained.  In some cases, these can be deadly.

Blood clots in the abdomen and pelvis

Blood clots can occurs through out the blood vessels in the abdomen and pelvis.  The portal vein which brings blood to the liver can develop a clot, especially when the patient has liver disease or a clotting disorder.  Other blood vessels can develop clots or become blocked from clots which travel from other parts of the body.

Blood clots in the leg veins

Most concerning blood clots in the veins of the legs are called deep venous thrombosis.  These clots are especially dangerous because they can travel from the legs into the chest.  This is called pulmonary embolism and can be deadly.    Clots in superficial veins under the skin in the legs are less concerning. Blood clots in the legs are often diagnosed with ultrasound.  Blood clots can also occur in the veins of the arms but are less common.

Blood clots can be identified on CT after we give contrast dye through the vein.  Blood clots can be deadly and need to be promptly diagnosed.  Blood clots are often treated with blood thinners.  In some cases, more aggressive procedures may be done to break the clot up or remove it.   An example of this would be a clot in a big artery in the brain.  If caught early enough, the clot may be removed.

Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.

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