Thromboembolism classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Classification

Classification for Thrombus Based on Vessel Type

There are two distinct forms of thrombosis:

Venous Thrombosis

Arterial Thrombosis

Classification of Embolism Based on Direction of Blood Flow

If a bacterial infection is present at the site of thrombosis, the thrombus may break down, spreading particles of infected material throughout the circulatory system (pyemia, septic embolus) and setting up metastatic abscesses wherever they come to rest.

Without an infection, the thrombus may become detached and enter circulation as an embolus, finally lodging in and completely obstructing a blood vessel (an infarction). The effects of an infarction depend on where it occurs.

The pathway of the embolism can be one of three types:

  • Anterograde
  • Retrograde
  • Paradoxical

In anterograde embolism, the movement of emboli is in the direction of blood flow. In retrograde embolism, however, the emboli move in opposition to the blood flow direction; this is usually significant only in blood vessels with low pressure (veins) or with emboli of high weight. In paradoxical embolism, also known as crossed embolism, an embolus from the veins crosses to the arterial blood system. This is generally found only with heart problems such as septal defects between the atria or ventricles.

Sources of Systemic Embolism

References



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