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Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Blood clots

Definition

Blood clots are clumps that occur when blood hardens from a liquid to a solid.

A blood clot that forms inside a blood vessel or within the heart and stays there is called a thrombus. A thrombus that breaks loose and travels from one location in the body to another is called an embolus. The related medical disorder is called an embolism. For example, an embolus that gets stuck in the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism.

Sometimes other materials can act like an embolus and block blood flow, including:

See also:

Alternative Names

Clot; Emboli; Thrombi

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Symptoms

Signs and tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Complications

Thrombi and emboli can firmly attach to a blood vessel. They can partially or completely block the flow of blood in that vessel.

A blockage in the blood vessel prevents normal blood flow and oxygen from reaching the tissues in that location. This is called ischemia. If ischemia is not treated promptly, it can result in tissue damage, or death of the tissues in that area.

Calling your health care provider

Prevention

References

Lim W, Crowther MA, Ginsberg JS. Venous thromboembolism. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 135.

Krakow EF, Ginsberg JS, Crowther MA. Arterial thromboembolism. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 136.

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Review Date: 6/2/2010

Review By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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