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Therapist: Pitcher lucky blood clot diagnosed early

In a piece for the Huffington Post, sports physical therapist Abby Sims writes that Dillon Gee of the New York Mets was fortunate that a timely examination revealed the presence of a blood clot in his pitching shoulder.

Gee, a 26-year-old left-hander, had surgery this week to break up the clot. Doctors diagnosed the problem after he complained of numbness in his fingers.

Sims writes that blood clots can be very dangerous if not diagnosed and treated right away. She cites the example of J.R. Richard of the Houston Astros, whose complaints went unheeded until he suffered a stroke in 1980. Despite the emergency surgery to remove the life-threatening clot in Richard’s neck, the stroke essentially ended his career.

Clots can form for a variety of reasons and are an important and naturally occurring part of the repair that occurs in response to a wound or damage to a blood vessel. But clots occurring in veins can form due to other circumstances, such as a long period of immobilization in a plane or a hospital.

Use of birth control pills can also increase the risk of blood clots. But a number of studies show that pills with the synthetic hormone drospirenone can increase that risk up to three times that of other birth control pills on the market. Pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

Gee’s clot, called a thrombus in medical terminology, was broken up using a catheter. But Gee may undergo a more involved procedure to repair damage to the involved artery in order to prevent recurrence. He will likely miss the remainder of the season.

Sims writes: “His condition highlights the importance of taking quick action when one experiences the onset of symptoms and the need for accuracy in diagnosis.”

A clot that forms in one place and is transported within the blood vessels to another area of the body is called an embolus. It can be deadly if it moves to the heart, the lungs or the brain (the latter condition is the mechanism that causes stroke).

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

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