World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000563004
Reproduction Date:

Title: Infarct  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dystrophic calcification, Placental insufficiency
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Not to be confused with Infraction.

In medicine, infarction is tissue death (necrosis) caused by a local lack of oxygen, due to an obstruction of the tissue's blood supply.[1] The resulting lesion is referred to as an infarct[2][3] (from the Latin infarctus, "stuffed into").[4]


The supplying artery may be blocked by an obstruction (e.g., an arterial embolus, thrombus, or atherosclerotic plaque), may be mechanically compressed (e.g., tumor, volvulus, or hernia), ruptured by trauma (e.g., atherosclerosis or vasculitides), or vasoconstricted (e.g., cocaine vasoconstriction leading to myocardial infarction).

Hypertension and atherosclerosis are risk factors for both atherosclerotic plaques and thromboembolism. In atherosclerotic formations, a plaque develops under a fibrous cap. When the fibrous cap is degraded by metalloproteinases released from macrophages or by intravascular shear force from blood flow, subendothelial thrombogenic material (extracellular matrix) is exposed to circulating platelets and thrombus formation occurs on the vessel wall occluding blood flow. Occasionally, the plaque may rupture and form an embolus which travels with the blood-flow downstream to where the vessel narrows and eventually clogs the vessel lumen.

Infarctions can also involve mechanical blockage of the blood supply, such as when part of the gut or testicles herniates or becomes involved in a volvulus.


By histopathology

Infarctions are divided into 2 types according to the amount of blood present:

By localization

  • Brain: Cerebral infarction is the ischemic kind of stroke due to a disturbance in the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. It can be atherothrombotic or embolic.[7] Stroke caused by cerebral infarction should be distinguished from two other kinds of stroke: cerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Cerebral infarctions vary in their severity with one third of the cases resulting in death.
  • Limb: Limb infarction is an infarction of an arm or leg. Causes include arterial embolisms and skeletal muscle infarction as a rare complication of long standing, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus.[9] A major presentation is painful thigh or leg swelling.[9]

  • Eye: an infarction can occur to the central retinal artery which supplies the retina causing sudden visual loss.

Associated diseases

Diseases commonly associated with infarctions include:


  1. The American Heritage Science Dictionary 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.