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1. the occlusion of a blood vessel by an embolus
2. Botany the blocking of a xylem vessel by an air bubble
3. RC Church a prayer inserted in the canon of the Mass between the Lord's Prayer and the breaking of the bread
4. another name (not in technical use) for embolus
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



disruption of the blood supply to an organ or tissue owing to blockage of a blood vessel by any type of particle transported by the blood or lymph stream but not normally circulating therein.

Circulatory disorders are aggravated by reflex vasospasms and secondary thrombosis. In the case of obstruction of small vessels, blood circulation can be quickly restored by collateral circulation, so that the embolism may be described as incomplete. Thromboembolism, which is caused by a thrombus or part of a thrombus that has broken free, is the type that is most important in practical terms. Emboli from peripheral veins usually lodge in the basin of the pulmonary artery. If there are defects in the septa of the heart, the emboli may reach the arterial system, bypassing the pulmonary circulation; this is called a paradoxical embolism. Embolism in the systemic circulation arteries is usually caused by the breaking away of thrombotic material from the left ventricular valves or walls, as in endocarditis, in heart diseases, and in aneurysm of the left ventricle.

Other possible types are tissue and fat embolisms (especially after extensive and severe injuries or fractures of the long tubular bones), air or gas embolisms (as in the case of open heart surgery, injuries to the large veins of the neck and chest, and decompression sickness), bacillary embolisms (obstruction by aggregations of microbes), and embolisms caused by foreign bodies—mainly by small fragments in gunshot wounds—which are sometimes moved by the force of gravity against the direction of the blood stream (retrograde, or venous, embolism).

Treatment includes the use of anticoagulants, thrombolytic and spasmolytic agents, antibiotics, therapeutic recompression (for decompression sickness), and surgical removal of the embolus (embolectomy).


Chazov, E. I. Trombozy i embolii v klinike vnutrennikh boleznei. Moscow-Warsaw, 1966.
Tregubenko, A. I. Trombozy i embolii v khirurgii. Kiev, 1972.
Perlick, E. Antikoagulanten. Leipzig, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The blocking of a blood vessel by an embolus.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The second most common presentation involves embolism formation, which may occur in any extremity but commonly involves the CNS [4, 6, 9, 10].
Pulmonary tumour embolisms continue to be clinically challenging in modern medicine.
Risk factors for systemic air embolism have been speculated, postulated, and reported; these include use of a coaxial biopsy system, number of biopsies, needle path through a longer distance of ventilated lung, coughing during the procedure, positive pressure ventilation, location of lesion in the lower lobes or lower parts of the lung, location of the lesion above the level of the left atrium, vasculitis, and small or cavitary lesions with some of these being influenceable or even avoidable and others not [2-9].
Treatment is controversial, although it is generally the same as for thrombotic embolisms: reperfusion procedures, mainly embolectomy when unstable, and anticoagulation therapy if not.
Postoperative chest computed tomography (CT) scan with and without contrast did not show any evidence of pulmonary embolism (PE) but showed bibasilar atelectasis with no evidence of definite consolidation and/or pneumonia.
The objective of this initial study was to determine the diagnostic yield of PCTA in the evaluation of pulmonary embolisms treated at the Puerto Rico Medical Center from 2008 to 2012.
The diagnosis of HC pulmonary embolism can be made with clinical and radiological findings.
When matched against warfarin, atrial fibrillation (AF) patients treated with apixaban (Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer) had significantly lower rates of stroke and systemic embolism, major bleeding complication, and overall mortality, compared with patients randomized to warfarin during a median follow-up of 1.8 years, Dr.
The state pathologist said the 20-year-old's health had been good when she was discharged last week following her appendectomy and there had been nothing to indicate the likelihood of a pulmonary embolism.
"In my experience, there is limited awareness regarding the role of the lower extremity venous system as the prime source of pulmonary embolism," said Dr.
Consultant John Belstead said his research showed there had been 30 deaths in the past three years at the hospital among patients who had had pulmonary embolism within minutes both getting off long haul flights.
Embolisms caused by air bubbles are usually treated in a special chamber to reduce their size.