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Glossary of Terms

Embolus (plural: Emboli)
An embolus is most often an undissolved particle or piece of a blood clot, or plaque (thrombus) that has broken loose from a blood vessel wall and is being carried down the vessel by the flow of blood. As the embolus flows down the vessel it is carried into small branches of the blood vessel and can eventually block the flow of blood in the vessel. The lack of blood supply beyond the blockage can cause a variety of problems, depending on what organ the blood vessel is supplying. For example, an embolus to the brain can cause a stroke, while an embolus to the lungs, if large enough, can cause cardiac arrest and can result in death.

Related term: Thrombus

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