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WQAD.com

YOUR HEALTH: For kids facing blood clots, forget about the needle!

1 in 200 children may develop a blood clot during a hospitalization

LOS ANGELES — You've heard about blood clots in adults, but children, even newborns, are at risk.

"I had a blood clot where my ear was at and they had to take it out," recalled 14 year old Brandy Sanchez.

She was in the hospital when she developed a clot.

"My head really hurt."

Brandy was given two injections a day of the common blood thinner enoxaparin.

"I didn't like the needles at all."

A blood clot, it's a gel or solid clump of blood in your veins or arteries. 

They can form almost anywhere in your body and can be fatal.

Every year more than 250,000 people will be told they have a blood clot.  On average, 274 people die every day from one.

Pediatric hematologist Guy Young often sees kids like Brandy struggle with treatment. 

Until now, infants and children would receive anticoagulant injections to ensure precise dosing.

"What we really needed in children was better drug options," said Dr. Young of Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.

He led a clinical trial testing a new liquid alternative: rivaroxaban, also known as Xarelto.

The main difference: precise dosing with no needles.

"Children come in lots of different sizes, so we can't, it's not a one size drug fits all," said Dr. Young.

With warfarin, weekly blood tests are needed to check levels since hundreds of drugs interact with warfarin. 

Not so with rivaroxaban.

Brandy has battled her blood clots and has won.

No more needles, no more medication and no more blood clots.

Rivaroxaban is FDA-approved for patients 18 years and older. 

Bayer, which makes the drug, hopes to get FDA approval by 2021 for the use in infants and children under 18.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.