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Definition

What is arterial thrombosis?

Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body and the heart muscle. Arterial thrombosis is a blood clot in an artery, which can be very serious because it can stop blood reaching important organs.

How common is arterial thrombosis?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of arterial thrombosis?

A blood clot doesn’t usually have any symptoms until it blocks the flow of blood to part of the body.

This can cause several serious problems, including:

  • A heart attack – when blood flow to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked, causing chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness
  • A stroke – when blood flow to the brain is cut off; the main symptoms are the face dropping on one side, weakness in one arm and slurred speech
  • A transient ischaemic attack (tia) or “Mini-stroke” – when blood flow to the brain is temporarily blocked, causing short-lived stroke symptoms
  • Critical limb ischaemia – when the blood supply to a limb is blocked, causing it to become painful, discoloured (either pale or blue) and cold

These conditions are all medical emergencies. Get medical help straight away if you or someone in your care is experiencing these symptoms.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes arterial thrombosis?

Arterial thrombosis occurs when a blood clot forms within an artery, slowing or stopping the flow of blood. Most cases of arterial thrombosis are caused when an artery is damaged by atherosclerosis. Fatty deposits build up on the walls of the arteries and cause them to harden and narrow.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for arterial thrombosis?

There are many risk factors for arterial thrombosis, such as:

  • Getting older
  • Smoking
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Regularly drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Other conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
  • A family history of atherosclerosis
  • Being of south Asian, African or African-Caribbean descent

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is arterial thrombosis diagnosed?

The tests used to diagnose blood clots in the arteries (arterial thrombosis) will depend on what medical condition the blood clot has triggered.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Suspected cases of unstable angina and heart attacks are diagnosed using anelectrocardiogram (ECG).

Everytime your heart beats, it produces tiny electrical signals that will show on paper.This allows your doctor to see how well your heart is functioning or if there areany areas not receiving blood as in a heart attack.

Blood test

Blood may also be taken to measure levels of a protein called troponin. This is released when the heart muscle is damaged by a heart attack.

Scans

Suspected cases of stroke are diagnosed by producing a scan of the brain using a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

How is arterial thrombosis treated?

There are two main types of treatment for a blood clot that develops in an artery (arterial thrombosis):

Medication

Medication can help dissolve clots and restore the flow of the blood to the brain or heart.

Surgery

You may need a heart procedure if the blood clot is in an artery that supplies blood to your heart.

Coronary angioplasty

A coronary angioplasty is the most common type of procedure for a heart attack.

A hollow metal tube called a stent is inserted to widen the artery and stop it from blocking again.

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)

Occasionally, a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) may be carried out after a heart attack.

A blood vessel that is taken from another part of the body is used to bypass where the blockage is.

Carotid endarterectomy

Another type of surgery for arterial thrombosis is called carotid endarterectomy, which you may have if you have had a blood clot in an artery in your neck (causing a stroke).

The surgeon makes a cut in your neck to open up the artery and remove the fatty deposits.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage arterial thrombosis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with arterial thrombosis:

  • Stop smoking
  • Have a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight – read advice about losing weight
  • Cut down on your alcohol consumption

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: September 8, 2017 | Last Modified: September 8, 2017

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