Here's how platelets form clots. This small artery has a cut. Blood flowing past the cut includes red blood cells that carry oxygen, platelets that come from white blood cell fragments, and clotting factors that help blood clot. When a blood vessel is damaged, blood cells and plasma ooze into surrounding tissue. Platelets immediately stick to the edges of the cut and release chemicals that attract more platelets. Eventually, a platelet plug is formed, and the outside bleeding stops.
On the inside, clotting factors cause a cascade of activity that includes strands of blood-borne material called fibrin sticking together to seal the inside of the wound. Eventually, the blood vessel heals, and several days later, the blood clot dissolves.
Review Date 1/19/2021
Updated by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.