Blood clotting

Ouch! Here's how platelets form clots. This small artery has a cut. Blood flowing past the cut includes red blood cells that carry oxygen, platelets that come from white blood cell fragments, and clotting factors that help blood clot. When a blood vessel is damaged, blood cells and plasma ooze into surrounding tissue. Platelets immediately stick to the edges of the cut and release chemicals that attract more platelets. Eventually, a platelet plug is formed, and the outside bleeding stops. On the inside, clotting factors cause a cascade of activity that includes strands of blood-borne material called fibrin sticking together to seal the inside of the wound. Eventually, the blood vessel heals, and several days later, the blood clot dissolves.

Blood clotting

Review Date: 5/10/2019

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Animations

Browse All

Illustrations

Browse All