Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 23

embolism

embolisms blood fat vessel

An obstruction of a blood vessel by the accumulation and adhesion of any undissolved material (such as a blood clot) carried to the site in the bloodstream. It is usually identified according to the vessel involved (cerebral, coronary, pulmonary) or the undissolved material (air, fat). Embolisms are most commonly due to blood clots that break off from areas of thrombosis, often veins in the leg. Fat embolisms may arise as a complication of orthopaedic surgery or severe fractures. Air embolisms may occur in the course of surgery, following an injury, or during intravenous infusions undertaken without satisfactory precautions.

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