What is the difference between an embolism and thrombosis?

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What is the difference in a thrombus and an embolus? They both have one thing in common, they are both usually blood clots; but, the thrombus is stationary such as a deep vein thrombus in the thigh or a popliteal thrombus behind the knee. An embolus is a thrombus that has moved from one place to another. You might hear such medical slang as, "he's thrown a PE". This translates into a thrombus moving from one location to a lung; thus, the "PE" or pulmonary embolism. A clot can also form in the heart itself with mitral valve regurgitation, or atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is where the top part of the heart; the smaller chambers called the atrium begin to quiver rather than pump effectively. Blood that isn't moving tends to congeal, forming clots. These atrial clots can migrate to the ventricles where they can be "thrown" to another part of the body, such as the brain, causing a stroke. Mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the atrium finishes pumping blood to the ventricle. ... more
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