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Classification according to ICD-10
I74.9 Embolism and thrombosis of unspecified artery
I82.9 Embolism and thrombosis of unspecified vein
T79.0 Air embolism (traumatic)
T79.1 Fat embolism (traumatic)
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

In medicine, an embolism [ ɛmboˈliː ] means the partial or complete sudden closure of a blood vessel by material washed in with the blood . This embolus can consist of the body's own and foreign substances such as fat droplets, amniotic fluid, blood clots (detached vascular plug) or air bubbles.

Word origin

"Embolie" is a term coined by Rudolf Virchow , who called small coagulated blood parts "emboli" and derived from ancient Greek ἐμβάλλω emballo "to throw in" and embolus "vascular plug".


Cement embolism after kyphoplasty in the X-ray image with a thin, radiopaque structure projected onto the right hilus . On the right, computed tomography , which shows the exit from the vertebra into a vein.

Embolisms can be divided into:

The most common embolisms are thromboembolism after a thrombosis of the deep veins in the leg ( pulmonary embolism ) and thromboembolism in the arteries of the brain ( stroke ). In Germany, 20,000 to 25,000 people die of an embolism every year.


Thromboses can be avoided in high- risk patients by the prophylactic subcutaneous injection of heparins , today mostly low molecular weight heparin, or above all by physical measures such as early mobilization , intermittent compression or medical thrombosis prophylaxis stockings (MTPS). Heparins are given to patients at high risk; physical prophylaxis is indicated in all risk groups. See also the AWMF S3 guidelines on outpatient and inpatient thromboembolism prophylaxis, which has been ratified by 20 operating medical professions .


Embolisms that have arisen from thrombi can, under certain circumstances, be dissolved with medication ( thrombolysis ). Sometimes an operation to remove the embolus ( embolectomy ) is necessary .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Embolie  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heinz Otremba: Rudolf Virchow. Founder of cellular pathology. A documentation. Echter-Verlag, Würzburg 1991, p. 22 f.
  2. a b Gerd Herold : Internal Medicine 2019 . Cologne 2018, p. 839.