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thrombus vs. embolus

thrombus vs. embolus: What’s the difference?

An embolus is a blood clot that stays where it forms—either in a blood vessel or in a chamber of the heart. A thrombus is some kind of mass (such as a detached blood clot or air bubble) that travels in the bloodstream and can obstruct blood vessels. A case of clotting that’s the result of an embolus is called an embolism (such as a pulmonary embolism), while the formation or presence of a thrombus is called thrombosis (such as deep-vein thrombosis).

[ throm-buhs ]
  1. a fibrinous clot that forms in and obstructs a blood vessel, or that forms in one of the chambers of the heart.
[ em-buh-luhs ]
  1. undissolved material carried by the blood and impacted in some part of the vascular system, as thrombi or fragments of thrombi, tissue fragments, clumps of bacteria, protozoan parasites, fat globules, or gas bubbles.

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