Pulmonary Embolism


Pulmonary emboli are caused by clots from the venous circulation, from the right side of the heart, from tumors that have invaded the circulatory system, or from other sources such as amniotic fluid, air, fat, bone marrow, and foreign substances. These clots travel in the blood stream & get caught in the lung. A pulmonary embolism affects as many as 5 out of 10,000 people in the United States each year, and sudden death can occur as a result of pulmonary embolism. The risk factors include prolonged bed rest or inactivity, oral contraceptive use, surgery, childbirth, cancer, stroke, heart attack, heart surgery, and fractures of the hips or femur. Most clots originate in the lower extremities as a result of inflammation & damage. This is often called deep vein thrombosis of the legs (DVT). The prevention of DVT is early detection and treatment may help prevent Pulmonary Embolism. DVT may be prevented by none deep like leg pain or having as well as some mechanical means. 

There are many symptoms of pulmonary embolus and most are more specific. They include: cough which begins suddenly and may produce bloody sputum; sudden onset of shortness of breath at rest or with exertion; splinting of ribs with breathing (bending over or holding the chest); lightheadedness; fainting; dizziness; chest pain under the breastbone or on one side; a sharp, stabbing, burning, aching or dull, heavy sensation which may be worse at night, may radiate to the shoulder, arm, neck, jaw, or other area, or may be worsened by breathing deeply, coughing, eating, bending, or stooping; sweating; anxiety; rapid breathing or heart rate (tachycardia). Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease are: wheezing, clammy skin, bluish skin discoloration, weak or absent pulse, nasal flaring, joint pain, pelvis pain, leg pain in one or both legs, low blood pressure, swelling in the legs (lower extremities), lump associated with a vein near the surface of the body (superficial vein).








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