Deep Vein Thrombosis, Pulmonary Embolism and Brain Tumours

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the leg.
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage (blood clot) in the pulmonary artery which is the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs. It is potentially life threatening.

Risk factors include:

  • Age 60 years plus
  • Glioblastoma diagnosis
  • Large tumour size
  • Subtotal resection of tumour
  • Chemotherapy
  • Neurosurgery within the past 2 months
  • Leg paralysis
  • A or AB blood type

Signs and Symptoms


  • Pain, redness, swelling around the area where the clot is.
  • The area around the clot may feel warm to touch.
  • Most likely to form in the thigh, groin or lower leg.


  • Chest pain – a sharp stabbing pain that worsens when you breathe in.
  • Shortness of breath – can come on suddenly or develop gradually.
  • Coughing – usually dry but may include blood or mucus.
  • Faint, dizzy or passing out.

You should see your GP immediately if you have a combination of these symptoms.

If your symptoms are particularly severe, dial 999 for an ambulance.

How are DVTs/PEs treated?

  • They are treated with anti-coagulation medication. These stop the blood clot from getting bigger while your body reabsorbs it and reduces your risk of further clots developing.
  • Enoxaparin (clexane) is an anti-coagulation injection, commonly used. It is given sub-cutaneously, into the fatty layer of the abdomen for three to six months.

To maintain good blood circulation and prevent further clots keep mobile, avoid long periods of inactivity and lead a healthy life style such as stopping smoking.

Frequently asked Questions

Should all patients with brain tumours have preventative anti-coagulation medication?

There is a long-standing reluctance to treat with therapeutic anti-coagulation due to the risk of intracranial haemorrhage.  Therefore patients are treated as they present with a DVT/PE.

Useful Contacts Telephone: 0845 4500 386

Macmillan Cancer Information + Support Centre, Lincoln County Hospital

Telephone: 01522 573799