GARY CARLSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY CARLSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Blood clot break up. Artwork of thrombolysis, the break-up of a blood clot. Blood clots are formed from red blood cells (erythrocytes, red) caught in a mesh of fibrin fibres (yellow). Fibrin is an insoluble protein produced from the blood protein fibrinogen. Platelets in the blood (not seen) release chemicals which cause this conversion when they come across an injury in the vessel wall. The clot covers and protects the injury, preventing infection and stopping blood loss. However, a blood clot that breaks off into the bloodstream, known as an embolus, can cause an embolism, a potentially fatal blockage of a blood vessel.
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