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Embolism, presence of substances other than liquid blood in the blood circulation, causing obstruction in arteries or interfering with the pumping of the heart. The common causes of embolism are the breaking-away of fatty material from the wall of an artery, and thrombosis (blood clot formation) in a blood vessel or on the heart walls, where a fragment of clot breaks away. Fat globules from bone marrow may form emboli after major bone fractures. Emboli may also consist of bacteria, air bubbles, or amniotic fluid. Stroke (transient cerebral episodes), pulmonary embolism (in the lung), coronary thrombosis, and obstruction of the blood supply to a limb or organ with consequent cell death are common results, some of them fatal. Some emboli may be removed surgically, but prevention is preferable.

See also: Stroke.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Eilat to ERA