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Blood Clotting -What is it?

Clotting is also known as coagulation. It is a process which thickens the blood, turning it from a flowing liquid into a gel. The process of coagulation is triggered when the wall of a blood vessel is damaged. Platelets recognise the damage and bind to the damaged area. They then signal other platelets to migrate to the site of damage. They then release a substance called thromboplastin which is rapidly converted to active thrombin. Thrombin reacts with fibrinogen in blood plasma, forming a substance called fibrin. Fibrin is in the form of fine, thread-like filaments which wrap around the red blood cells, the white blood cells and the platelets to form a clot which stops further bleeding. Vasospasm may also occur, caused by serotonin which is also released by platelets. This is where the blood vessel that is damaged spasm and constrict (become narrower). Narrowing the vessel slows the passage of blood through it.

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