What is a Vascular Occlusion?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2019
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Vascular occlusion, also known as vascular thrombosis or blocked artery, is characterized by a blocked vein, normally due to the presence of a blood clot. The occlusion is sometimes the result of a sudden blockage, which can cause serious symptoms and may even result in death. Vascular thrombosis can be present anywhere in the body and may affect men and women.

Symptoms of occlusion may include numbness, shortness of breath, nausea, pain, excessive sweating, vomiting and pale skin. Paleness is particularly noted in the area where the blocked artery has occurred. Since the arteries are how blood is carried throughout the body, particularly to the heart and brain, some people report feeling a tightening or a squeezing sensation in the chest area when a blocked artery has occurred. These symptoms are very serious and can be fatal if ignored.

Sometimes also referred to as deep vein thrombosis, this condition is often known to begin in the legs. While a blood clot may begin in this area, clots may sometimes travel throughout the body and can result in life-threatening conditions. Such conditions include a stroke, a heart attack or, if blockage in a lung artery occurs, it can result in a pulmonary embolism.


Individuals with atherosclerosis are more prone to have a blocked artery than are most other people. This is due to the characteristic narrowing of the arteries in atherosclerosis. This narrowing of the arteries, combined with the presence of a blood clot, makes vascular thrombosis symptoms even more life threatening when presented in patients with atherosclerosis.

A particular type of vascular thrombosis, known as mesenteric vascular occlusion, is sometimes overlooked in its initial stages. In this type, a blocked artery produces intense abdominal pain, which is sometimes attributed to other less urgent causes. A delayed diagnosis of this type of occlusion results in the delaying of crucial treatment. Although this is not a very common type of blocked artery, it is extremely dangerous and can cause irreversible damage to the internal organs, as well as death.

Vascular occlusion interrupts necessary blood flow from carrying oxygen and vital nutrients throughout the body. It is a serious condition, which is often fatal. Experts advise that anyone experiencing the symptoms of this kind of occlusion consult a physician right away. Ignoring the signs and symptoms of a blocked artery may literally mean the difference between life and death.


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