Overview of Blood clotting

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Chapter: Biochemistry : Blood clotting

Blood clotting (coagulation) is designed to rapidly stop bleeding from a damaged blood vessel in order to maintain a constant blood volume (hemostasis).


Blood clotting

OVERVIEW

Blood clotting (coagulation) is designed to rapidly stop bleeding from a damaged blood vessel in order to maintain a constant blood volume (hemostasis). Coagulation is accomplished through vasoconstriction and the formation of a clot (thrombus) that consists of a plug of platelets and a meshwork of the protein fibrin that stabilizes the platelet plug. Clotting occurs in association with membranes on the surface of platelets and damaged blood vessels (Figure 34.1). [Note: If clotting occurs within an intact vessel such that the lumen is occluded and blood flow is impeded, a condition known as thrombosis, serious tissue damage and even death can occur. This is what happens, for example, during a myocardial infarction (MI).] Processes to limit clot formation to the area of damage and remove the clot once vessel repair is underway also play essential roles in hemostasis. [Note: Separate discussions of the formation of the platelet plug and the fibrin meshwork facilitate presentation of these multistep, multicomponent processes. However, the two work together to maintain hemostasis.]


Figure 34.1 A blood clot formed by a plug of activated platelets and a meshwork of fibrin at the site of vessel injury.

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