This animation depicts the process of blood clotting in an enlarged view of a small artery. Cells shown include red blood cells, platelets, fibrin, and clotting factors.
The body contains a natural process to stop bleeding from minor cuts in a matter of several minutes. When a small artery is cut, the collagen fibers in its tissue are exposed, which signals clotting process to begin. As platelets begin to adhere to the cut edges, they release chemicals to attract even more platelets. Eventually a platelet plug is formed, and the external bleeding stops. Clotting factors in the blood cause strands of blood-borne material, called fibrin, to stick together and seal the inside of the wound. Eventually, the cut blood vessel heals, and the blood clot dissolves after several days.
Reviewed last on: 10/10/2008
Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Private practice specializing in Cardiovascular Disease, Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.