Arterial thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus ) in an artery. This condition can block blood flow to certain organs of the body so that it has the potential to cause serious conditions , such as heart attacks and strokes.
Arterial thrombosis is generally caused by the release of platelets (platelets) as the body's response to the rupture of plaque that causes atherosclerosis . These platelets then coalesce and clot. If the clot that forms is large enough, the artery can become blocked.
Despite having many similarities, thrombosis is different from embolism. Thrombosis is a blockage that occurs specifically due to blood clots in the blood vessels. Whereas in emboli , blockages can be caused by foreign substances, including air bubbles, fat, and even amniotic fluid.
Causes of Arterial Thrombosis
Arterial thrombosis occurs when blood platelets or platelets clot to block blood flow. Blood clots themselves are generally formed as the body's response to injuries or injuries that occur in blood vessels.
Arterial thrombosis is most often caused by plaque rupture in atherosclerosis. In addition, arterial thrombosis can also occur in people with vasculitis , atrial fibrillation, or people with antiphospholipid syndrome .
There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of experiencing arterial thrombosis, namely:
- Smoking habit
- High blood pressure , high cholesterol, or diabetes
- Overweight or obesity
- Unhealthy diet and high in saturated fat
- Family history of arterial thrombosis or atherosclerosis
- Lifestyle is less active moving or physical activity
- Alcohol addiction
Symptoms of Arterial Thrombosis
Arterial thrombosis generally causes no symptoms until a blood clot blocks or stops blood flow to a certain part of the body. Based on the location of the blockage, the symptoms of arterial thrombosis that commonly occur are:
Blockage in the coronary arteries
Arterial thrombosis that blocks the coronary arteries can cause a heart attack . This condition is generally characterized by the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Hard to breathe
- A cold sweat
- Nausea and vomiting
Blockage in the arteries to the brain
Arterial thrombosis that blocks an artery in the brain can cause an ischemic stroke . Symptoms of this condition include:
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
- The face looks asymmetrical or one side looks lower
- Speech slurred, and difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Impaired balance and coordination
- Headache or dizziness
- Difficult to swallow
Blockages due to blood clots in the arteries of the brain are sometimes only temporary. but can cause a mini stroke or TIA ( transient ischemic attack ).
Blockage in the peripheral arteries
This condition generally occurs due to complications from peripheral arterial disease . In peripheral artery disease, accumulated plaque can break off and cause a blood clot to form.
Blood clots that block peripheral arteries can cause the following complaints:
- Leg pain
- Legs appear pale, bluish, or feel cold
- Numbness or weakness in the limbs
When to see a doctor
Immediately consult a doctor if you experience symptoms of arterial thrombosis. You also need to go to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately if you experience symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Both of these conditions must be treated immediately because they can be fatal.
If you have conditions or factors that can increase the risk of arterial thrombosis, such as obesity, diabetes, or hypertension, carry out periodic controls or checks with your doctor so that your condition is always monitored.
Diagnosis of arterial thrombosis
To diagnose arterial thrombosis, the doctor will ask questions and answers about the patient's complaints, as well as the patient's and family's medical history.
If the patient arrives in an emergency, for example due to a heart attack or stroke, the doctor will first provide first aid to stabilize the patient's condition.
Furthermore, to confirm the diagnosis of arterial thrombosis, the doctor will perform the following examinations:
- Blood test , to determine blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and the speed of blood clotting
- Doppler ultrasound , to observe blood flow in arteries that are suspected of being blocked
- MRI and CT scans , to see the part that is blocked or damaged more clearly
- Angiography , to see in more detail the condition of the arteries that are blocked or damaged
Arterial Thrombosis Treatment
Arterial thrombosis treatment aims to destroy or remove blood clots and prevent them from forming again. That way, blood flow to the organs of the body can return smoothly.
Treatment methods for arterial thrombosis that can be given by doctors include:
The following are drugs that can be given to treat arterial thrombosis:
- Anticoagulants and antiplatelets, such as aspirin , clopidogrel, and heparin , to prevent blood clots
- Streptokinase , to break up blood clots (thrombolytics)
- Ibuprofen or morphine, for pain relief
- Statins , to control cholesterol levels
- ACE inhibitors , to lower blood pressure
- Insulin, to control blood sugar levels
Surgery is performed when drugs are not effective in treating arterial thrombosis or if the location of the blockage has the potential to endanger the patient's life.
The following are some of the surgical options for treating arterial thrombosis:
- Thrombectomy , which is a surgical procedure to remove a blood clot from a blocked artery
- Angioplasty , namely the opening of blocked arteries with a balloon catheter, followed by the installation of stents so that the arteries remain wide
- Coronary artery bypass graft ( CABG ), which is a procedure for creating a new blood flow route by taking a blood vessel from another part of the body
Complications of arterial thrombosis
Complications caused by arterial thrombosis depend on where the vessel is blocked. Arterial thrombosis in the blood vessels of the brain can cause a stroke. Meanwhile, if it occurs in the blood vessels of the heart, the patient can experience a heart attack.
Arterial thrombosis can also cause tissue death in the limbs ( gangrene ) so that the limb needs to be amputated.
These conditions, if left untreated, can also cause more serious health problems. For example, a heart attack due to a blockage in the coronary arteries can cause heart damage, heart failure, and even death.
Prevention of arterial thrombosis
Arterial thrombosis can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Some ways that can be done are:
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes per week
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Eat healthy, nutritionally complete and balanced foods, and low in sugar and saturated fat
- Avoiding or limiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Check with your doctor regularly if you have conditions that are at risk of causing blood clots, such as diabetes or hypertension
- Take the doctor's medication as recommended if you have been diagnosed with arterial thrombosis