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Acute ischaemia results principally from embolism or thrombotic occlusion in an essential distributing artery:

  • embolism - most large emboli originate in the heart, as a result of atrial fibrillation, mitral stenosis - left atrial thrombus, atrial myxoma or myocardial infarction - mural thrombus
  • thrombotic occlusion of an artery already narrowed by atherosclerosis
  • thrombosis of a popliteal artery aneurysm

Rarely, acute ischaemia may result from widespread thrombosis due to:

  • high oestrogen contraceptive pill
  • polycythaemia rubra vera
  • thrombocythaemia
  • leukaemia

Last reviewed 01/2018