What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
A pulmonary embolism (PULL-mun-ary EM-bo-lizm) is a sudden blockage in a lung artery.
A pulmonary embolism is also called PE and Venous thromboembolism.
What Causes a Pulmonary Embolism?
A pulmonary embolism usually caused by a blood clot that traveled to the lung from the leg. A clot that forms in one part of the body and travels in the bloodstream to another part of the body is called an embolus.
In most cases, pulmonary embolism is a complication of a condition called deep vein thrombosis. In deep vein thrombosis, blood clots form in the deep veins of the body. These clots can break free, travel to the lung, and block an artery.
Blood Clots in the Leg
Blood clots can form in the leg when blood flow is restricted and slows down. This happens when you do not move around for long periods of time, such as:
Complications of a Pulmonary Embolism
The most common complications of a pulmonary embolism are:
What are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism?
The most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are:
Can Pulmonary Embolism be Treated?
A pulmonary embolism can be treated. Treatments are aimed to stop development of new clots and to keep the blood clot or clots lodged in the lungs from increasing in size.
Treatments depend on how severe the symptoms are. Common treatments include medication to thin the blood, surgery to remove a blood clot, and compression stockings to reduce risk of developing blood clots in the legs.
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