Signs and Symptoms

Knowing the most common blood clot signs and symptoms can help you spot or even prevent this potentially life-threatening condition.

The signs and symptoms of a blood clot, as well as the recommended treatment, hinge on the location within your body where the clot forms and the potential harm it might inflict. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) typically manifests with symptoms such as swelling, pain, warmth, and redness in the affected limb. On the other hand, pulmonary embolism (PE), can present with chest pain, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.

Collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE), DVT and PE are conditions in which blood clots develop within veins. While these symptoms may vary, prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment are vital for preventing complications and ensuring the best possible outcome. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of VTE is crucial, as it empowers individuals to seek medical attention promptly, potentially saving lives.


In the U.S. and Europe, VTE-related events kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer, prostate cancer and motor vehicle crashes combined.

Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A DVT is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Blood clots occur when something slows or changes the blood flow. Blood thickens and clumps together. Most deep vein blood clots occur in the lower leg or thigh, however, they can also occur in other parts of the body such as the veins of the groin and arms. Be proactive. If you feel a sign or symptom, regardless of your risk factors, contact your healthcare professional immediately.

Pain or tenderness

  • Pain or tenderness that often starts in the calf. For upper extremity blood clots, the pain is usually in the arm or shoulder region.


  • Swelling of the leg, including the ankle or foot can occur in a minority of cases. Swelling can also occur in upper extremity DVTs.


  • Redness or noticeable discoloration in the leg or arm ors occasionally


  • A sensation of warmth in the leg or arm can also be a sign of a DVT

Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

A PE is a sudden blockage in a lung artery. The blockage usually is caused by a blood clot that travels to the lung from a vein in the leg, also known as a DVT.

A PE can be life-threatening. About one-third of people with an undiagnosed and untreated PE do not survive. When the condition is diagnosed and treated promptly, however, that number drops dramatically. If you experience a sign or symptom, contact your healthcare professional immediately.

Shortness of Breath

  • Shortness of breath is a sign of a PE.

Rapid Breathing

  • Rapid breathing, or difficulty catching your breath, can be a sign of a PE.

Chest Pain

  • Chest pain that becomes worse with deep breaths can be a sign of a PE. Any patient with unexplained chest pain should be considered for a PE.

Lightheadedness or Passing Out

  • Becoming lightheaded and/or passing out can be a sign of PE.

Coughing Up Blood

  • Coughing up blood is a cause for concern. If a patient is coughing up blood, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
Support For You

Mental Health Matters

A blood clot diagnosis can feel lonely. Having a blood clot can be a life-altering event. Research shows that in addition to physical symptoms (such as pain or swelling), patients may experience a range of mental health issues after a clot, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Learn More

Types of Thrombosis

Learn more about the different types of thrombosis conditions.

Risk Factors

Learn about the risk factors associated with blood clots.

Treatment Options

Learn about blood clot treatment options.