Cardiologist explains Steven Stamkos’ condition, signs to watch out for

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The sound of collective hearts breaking could be heard throughout the Tampa Bay area when the Tampa Bay Lightning made the announcement. Even Steven Stamkos himself admitted he was crushed that he would need surgery to treat a blood clot.

General manager Steve Yzerman announced on Monday that “Stammer” was recovering from a successful surgery at Tampa General Hospital. “He’s disappointed but he knows what needs to be done. He understands what needs to be done. His mind said was, ‘Let’s just get this done. And, let’s get to work,'” Yzerman said.

READ MORE: Bolts: Stamkos’ surgery successful

It all began when the team captain noticed he had some swelling in his right arm and tingling in his fingers after Thursday night’s game against Montreal. It turns out Stamkos was suffering from a blood clot, a condition called Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, also known as Effort Thrombosis.

“It is unfortunate that this had to happen with one of the most important members of the team, but such is life. You cannot play with destiny,” said Dr. Asad Sawar, an interventional cardiologist at Florida Hospital.

The longtime blood clot expert explained doctors most likely removed Stanmer’s top rib, which was rubbing against a vein. It is a common condition in athletes, he says, especially baseball and volleyball players. However, it is very unusual in hockey players, he told News Channel 8.

READ MORE: Lightning’s Stamkos out 1-to-3 months with blood clot in arm

“The vein rides over the rib, and when the arm moves, it keeps on getting rubbed, and this constant rubbing causes injury to the vein,” Sawar said.

He explained that the inside of the vein becomes course like sandpaper, which makes it the perfect environment for a blood clot to form. The cardiologist added that Stamkos is lucky physicians caught this just in time.

“His doctor is the best on the East Coast. He’s in good hands,” Dr. Sawar added. He also advises that if anyone feels swelling or tingling of this nature, it is a classic symptom of this condition and should be checked immediately.

Meanwhile, the prognosis is good for Stamkos. He is currently on blood thinners, which makes it incredibly dangerous – even impossible – for Stamkos to be on the ice. His recovery is expected to last up to three months.

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