Embolism

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 05 Oct 2021

Embolism describes intravascular material that is carried from its original location downstream to a distant area. The most common type of embolism is that which is derived from a thrombus, such as in the case of pulmonary embolism or stroke.

Types of embolism

Clinical features

The end result of embolism depends on the type, size and region the embolus travels to. Some examples include

  • lungs (pulmonary embolus) - dyspnea, tachypnea, tachycardia
  • brain - stroke
  • peripheral arteries - acutely ischemic limb or digit

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