Arm blood clot: What are the signs?

An arm blood clot is considered uncommon. It is important to note that the blood flows throughout the body via the arteries and veins. During certain conditions, a blood clot forms within these blood vessels which results to partial or full blockage.

Some of the clots are left unnoticed while others trigger symptoms such as color changes, pain and swelling. The precise signs vary depending on whether the clot forms in the artery, deep vein or superficial vein.


Pain is one of the usual signs of a blood clot. It might be mild if the clot is small or severe if it is big or formed in an artery.

An arterial blood clot can be quite painful since the blockage lessens the delivery of oxygen to the site supplied by the artery. This leads to malfunction of the cells and even death. In case the clots form in the superficial veins, there is pain in the site around the clot.


Pain is one of the usual signs of a blood clot. It might be mild if the clot is small or severe if it is big or formed in an artery.

The DVT blood clots can cause widespread pain, oftentimes affecting most of the arm. The pain from this clot often starts as minor discomfort that progressively becomes severe.


The swelling is quite evident with the DVT blood clots. A blood clot typically forms in the subclavian and axillary veins which are the large-sized veins radiating from the upper arm, via the armpit and shoulder regions and into the chest.

The swelling with a superficial vein blood clot is localized to the site around the clot. As for arterial blood clots, swelling is not likely to occur except in cases where there is extensive cell death in the area being supplied by the artery.

Changes in color and temperature

If a DVT blood clot disrupts the blood flow from the arm, the backed-up blood causes the arm and hand to feel warm and appear purplish, dark red or bluish.

As for the superficial vein clots, they are accompanied by significant inflammation of the bordering vein. The inflammation causes the overlying skin on the vein to appear bright red and warm.

An arterial clot can cause the skin in the area being supplied by the artery to turn cool and pale due to the reduced flow of blood.

Engorged or firm veins

If a blood clot develops in a superficial vein, it might feel firm than normal. Initially, this is not obvious but becomes solid and firm over time.

For a DVT clot, similar changes arise but not evident since it is concealed deep inside the arm. Once the flow of blood is obstructed by a clot in the subclavian or axillary vein, some of the blood might be diverted via the other veins in the area. This results to engorged superficial veins in the shoulder, upper arm and upper chest.


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