Blockage of blood. Embolism is something that blocks proper flow of blood in the body. An embolism is usually a blood clot that can forms in your veins or arteries that can lodge in dangerous places in your circulatory system. Venous embolisms can cause catastrophic breathing problems. Air, fat and a few other things can also be a type of embolism that blocks blood flow.
In the bloodstream. Embolus: something that travels through the bloodstream, lodges in a blood vessel and blocks it. Examples of emboli are a detached blood clot, a clump of bacteria, and foreign material such as air.
See below. Generally it is a blood clot/organized, that forms in one location (generally the heart) and travels to another location in the body.
No blood flow. Past that point. So body part past that can die if not treated in time.
Embolus. When an embolus enters an artery too small for it to fit through it will prevent blood from flowing through the artery. The tissue that relies on the blood flow from the artery can die. This is what happens when people have heart attacks. An artery that supplies the heart - called a coronary artery - loses its blood flow and part of the heart dies.
Depends. Emboli occur when atherosclerotic plaques or plaques with thrombus formation break off and travel up stream in the flow through the heart and through the circulation to the head, abdomen or legs. These plaques or thrombi can originate in the left or right atrium of the heart, particularly in patients with atrial fibrillation. They can originate in the aorta or major arteries in the neck.
Heart. With irregular heart beat emboli can originate from the heart. If there I irregular plaque in arteries that can also serve as source of emboli.
Typically bloodclots. Cardiovascular embolism typically would be due to a blood clot that formed in the heart or along the arterial or venous circulation. Common causes would be atrial fibrillation (abnormal rhythm leading to stagnant blood), a heart attack or cardiomyopathy causing weak heart, or a blood clotting disorder or local injury leading to a venous blood clot in peripheral vein or pelvis. Rarely chol or air.
It may dissolve. An embolus is something that can float through blood and then plugs the flow. It's usually a blood clot or air. A pulmonary infarct occurs when the embolus goes to a pulmonary artery and the lung down stream dies from lack of oxygen. Depending on the severity the clot can be retrieved, dissolved with blood thinners or left alone. Treatment should also include prevention of another.
Consult the doctor. The first step is to consult a doctor. They will examine the patient and may draw some bloodwork. If there is a clinical suspicion for pulmonary embolus, the doctor may order a ct scan of the chest with intravenous contrast. If pulmonary embolism is found, treatment with a blood thinner may be started. If there is a history of pulmonary embolism, the doctor may discuss placement of a filter.