Paradoxical Embolism

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Paradoxical Embolism

Topic Overview

Normally, blood flows from the right side of the heart through the pulmonary arteries and lungs before it returns to the left side of the heart. A paradoxical embolism is a blood clot that does not travel with normal blood flow. This type of embolism often causes a stroke because the clot moves directly from the right side of the heart to the left through a hole (defect) in the septum, which separates the upper right and left heart chambers. It then bypasses the lungs and is pumped straight toward the brain.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD, MD - Hematology
Last Revised January 14, 2011

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