What is mural thrombosis?

Thrombosis is a term given to a collection of conditions involving the formation of a non-mobile blood clot called a thrombus. Mural thrombosis, which denotes a thrombus occurring in the endocardium, belongs to this category. This is a layer of tissue that lines the chambers of the heart. The term "mural thrombosis" takes after this wall-like version of the disease. It is also identified with the aorta, which connects to the left ventricle of the heart to provide oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

A thrombus usually occurs due to injury. When a blood vessel is damaged, it turns into platelets, which are cell fragments responsible for regulating bleeding. A low platelet count, for example, leads to excessive bleeding. Rather, platelets are used by blood vessels to stop bleeding, or cause hemostasis, by creating blood clots. Platelets are also called thrombocytes, which explains the origin of the clinical term "thrombus" for blood clots.

With thrombosis, however, particularly mural thrombosis, the condition is not due to excessive or violent force. Instead, its origin is pathological or attributed to the presence of a disease. People with atrial fibrillation are likely to have mural thrombosis. Characterized by the involvement of the two upper chambers of the heart, collectively called the atria, it is the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm or cardiac arrhythmia. Other factors that indicate the presence of mural thrombosis include heart valve replacement and blood-related deficiencies.

Since blood clots in mural thrombosis restrict blood flow, it deprives tissue, and by extension the body, of the blood and oxygen it needs to function properly. Such deprivation leads to infarction, which is the death of tissue regions due to lack of oxygenated blood. In more extreme cases, mural thrombosis can lead to heart attack and stroke, which can lead to death.

Mural thrombosis and the presence of blood clots generally do not present obvious signs. This makes it very difficult to diagnose the disease. However, some patients may experience some pain in the chest area.

Doctors usually treat mural thrombosis with blood thinners. These are agents used to stop blood clotting. Heparin is the most popular, injected into the body to join forces with the protein molecule antithrombin III to inhibit the origin and growth of blood clots. Another anticoagulant, warfarin, is taken orally and targets the enzyme vitamin K epoxide reductase to fight thrombi.

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