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Arterial Embolism

Overview

Some patients have certain heart valve problems or heart irregularities in which blood clots are formed either in the heart valve or in the heart. These blood clots once formed thrown in the rest of the body parts. Arterial embolism occur when any of these “thrown” blood clots travel from the originated point of the clot (thrombus) and lodges in an arteriole (small artery) or artery. Emboli refer to more than 1 clot and embolism refers to the process in which clot travels from one body part to another. The condition is often experienced in feet and legs. In some cases, brain gets affected due to the condition resulting in heart attack. The eyes, the kidneys and the intestines are other sites where the condition takes place, but in lesser proportion.


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Causes

More than one clot can cause arterial embolism. These clots restrict the blood flow due to which tissues of blood and oxygen become dead. Any factor that tends to form clots increases the risk of Arterial embolism. Such factors include atrial fibrillation, damage or injury to an artery wall, etc. Other conditions that increase risk of the condition significantly are mitral stenosis and endocarditis.


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Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms can either start appearing quickly or slowly, depending upon the embolus’ size and how much blood flow is restricted due to it. Symptoms that are experienced in the legs or arms include:

  • Weakness in arm or leg
  • Muscle pain, numbness in the affected area
  • Lack of movement in the arm or leg
  • Color of the arm or leg turns to pale
  • Decreased or no pulse in leg or arm.

In later stages, the following symptoms are experienced:

  • Skin ulcer
  • Shedding of skin
  • Blisters of the skin fed by the affected artery
  • Tissue death

If clot happens in any part of the body, then common symptoms that are experienced include:

  • Temporarily decreased in the functionality of organ
  • Part in that body part.
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Prevention

If the source of the blood clot gets identified, then prevention can be possible. Blood thinners are recommended by health professionals, so that blood becomes thin and risk of another embolism can be avoided. If a person is obese, physically inactive, under stress and have habit of smoking, then they are under high risk of suffering from arterial embolism. So, by reducing these symptoms, the risk of arterial embolism can be minimized


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Treatments
Conservative Treatment Modern Medicine

Depending upon the location and extent of severity of the blockage, arterial embolism is treated either with surgery or with medications. The treatment aims at controlling the symptoms and improving the interrupted blood flow. Medications are basically given to dissolve the clot and are given through a catheter. Medications that are prescribed by the health professionals include:

  • Anticoagulants
  • Painkillers given through veins
  • Thrombolytics
  • Antiplatelet
Surgery Modern Medicine

Few cases are treated with surgery in which embolus in dragged out by making incision into the affected area. Procedure of the surgery includes:

  • Arterial bypass
  • Clot aspiration
  • Embolectomy
  • Angioplasty
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