What is it?

A thrombus is a blood clot that forms in an artery, while an embolus is anything that moves through the blood vessels. When the embolus reaches a small blood vessel it gets stuck. This results in cessation of blood flow. An embolus is often a small piece of a blood clot that breaks off (thromboembolus). Arterial embolism is caused by damage to the arteries by a disease, high blood pressure, smoking, atherosclerosis, surgery that affects blood circulation, injury to the arteries, heart disease, and atrial fibrillation.

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Signs & symptoms

Signs and symptoms of arterial embolism and thrombosis are usually asymmetrical and may include coldness, lack of pulse, lack of movement, tingling, numbness, muscle pain or spasms, pale skin, weakness. If the embolism is not treated, ulcers, shedding skin and tissue death may occur.


Diagnosis of arterial embolism and thrombosis may include duplex ultrasonography, MRI to locate a blood clot, and angiogram to examine for abnormalities in blood vessels.


Treatment of arterial embolism and thrombosis usually includes anticoagulants, thrombolytics, and intravenous pain medication. Surgery, or angioplasty, may be performed to bypass a clot.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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