Arterial Thrombosis

Arterial Thrombosis

When a thrombus forms within an artery, this is known as an arterial thrombosis. Arterial thrombi usually develop on top of an atherosclerotic plaque and cause myocardial infarction (MI), unstable angina, ischaemic stroke and some manifestations of peripheral arterial disease, such as acute limb ischaemia. Risk factors for arterial thrombosis include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, increasing age, diabetes and family history. The incidence and prevalence of the clinical manifestations of arterial thrombosis is high. The annual incidence of symptomatic and fatal MI and stroke in the United States (US) in 2010 has been calculated to be 915,000 and 795,000 cases, respectively.


Atrial fibrillation-related thrombi

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia. Disorganized atrial contraction, leading to blood stasis and low shear conditions, encourages the formation of fibrin-rich thrombi within the left atrium and left atrial appendage. Embolization of atrial thrombi can then result in ischaemic stroke. Other factors such as heart failure, diabetes and previous stroke increase the risk of stroke in patients with AF.