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Disease Complications

In medicine, a complication is a medical problem that occurs during the course of a disease or after a procedure or treatment. Possible complications of ET include:

Deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body, usually in the legs. This can cause pain, swelling and reddening in the affected area. If a blood clot from a deep vein breaks loose and travels to the lungs, it can become lodged in the lungs and block blood flow, causing a serious blockage called a “pulmonary embolism.” Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include shortness of breath, chest pain and cough.

Stroke. If a blood clot occurs in the arteries that supply blood to the brain, it may cause a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). A stroke is a loss of blood flow to part of the brain, which damages brain tissue. A TIA is a type of stroke that only last a few minutes when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly blocked.

Heart attack. If a clot blocks blood flow to the heart, it can cause a heart attack. Without blood, tissue in the heart can lose oxygen and die. Symptoms of a heart attack include pain in the chest, neck, or back, as well as fatigue, dizziness and an abnormal heartbeat.

Other Blood Diseases. Occasionally, ET can transform into myelofibrosis, another MPN that results in bone scarring, anemia, and enlargement of the spleen and liver. In a smaller number of cases, ET may progress to myelodysplastic syndromes, or acute myeloid leukemia


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