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Pulmonary embolism

Also known as Lung Embolism

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (embolism). PE most commonly results from deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs or pelvis) that breaks off and migrates to the lung, a process termed venous thromboembolism (VTE). A small proportion of cases are due to the embolization of air, fat, talc in drugs of intravenous drug abusers or amniotic fluid. The obstruction of the blood flow through the lungs and the resultant pressure on the right ventricle of the heart lead to the symptoms and signs of PE. The risk of PE is increased in various situations, such as cancer or prolonged bed rest.

Source: Wikipedia

What are the symptoms?

Within all the people who go to their doctor with pulmonary embolism, 73% report having shortness of breath, 65% report having sharp chest pain, and 35% report having difficulty breathing. The symptoms that are highly suggestive of pulmonary embolism are hemoptysis, although you may still have pulmonary embolism without those symptoms.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with pulmonary embolism often receive hematologic tests, radiographic imaging procedure, complete blood count, electrocardiogram, plain x-ray, x-ray computed tomography, glucose measurement and kidney function tests .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with pulmonary embolism include warfarin, enoxaparin (lovenox), heparin, dalteparin (fragmin), beclomethasone nasal product, fondaparinux (arixtra), cholestyramine resin (questran), rivastigmine (exelon), megestrol (megace), nystatin-triamcinolone topical, tenecteplase, aluminum hydroxide (m.a.h.) and emtricitabine .

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for pulmonary embolism include age 75+ years, age 60-74 years and age 45-59 years. On the other hand, age 1-4 years and age < 1 years almost never get pulmonary embolism.

Age

< 1 years
0.0x
1-4 years
0.0x
5-14 years
0.1x
15-29 years
0.4x
30-44 years
0.8x
45-59 years
1.5x
60-74 years
1.8x
75+ years
2.2x

Sex

Male
0.9x
Female
1.0x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
1.3x
Hispanic
0.6x
White
1.1x
Other
0.4x
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