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Thrombosis is a term given to a collection of conditions involving the formation of a non-moving blood clot named thrombus. Belonging to this category is mural thrombosis, which denotes a thrombus occurring in the endocardium. 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 with the heart's left ventricle to provide oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
A thrombus usually occurs due to an injury. When a blood vessel is damaged, it turns to platelets, which are cell fragments responsible for the regulation of bleeding. A low platelet count, for example, results in excessive bleeding. Conversely, platelets are used by blood vessels to stop bleeding, or bring about 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 affliction of the heart's two upper chambers, collectively called the atria, it is the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm, or cardiac arrhythmia. Other factors that indicate the presence of this type of 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 needed to function properly. Such deprivation leads to infarction, which is death of regions of tissue due to a lack of oxygenated blood. In more extreme cases, it can lead to a heart attack and stroke, potentially causing death.
Mural thrombosis and the presence of blood clots in general usually does not present any obvious signs. This makes it very difficult to diagnose the disease. Some patients, however, may experience some pain in the chest area.
Physicians usually treat mural thrombosis using anticoagulants. These are agents used to stop blood clotting. Heparin is the most popular one, injected into the body to join forces with the antithrombin III protein molecule in inhibiting the origin and growth of blood clots. Another anticoagulant, warfarin, is administered orally and targets the vitamin K epoxide reductase enzyme to fight against thrombi.