Pulmonary Emboli

Caroline Evans and Haley Hemsworth

Pulmonary Embolism is when one or more pulmonary arteries in your lungs become blocked. This occurs when a blood clot gets wedged into an artery in your lungs. They usually come from deep veins in your legs, but they can come from other parts of your body as well. It can become life threatening because it makes it more difficult for lungs to provide your body with oxygen.

The symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism include shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough, but other signs and symptoms can also occur. It is important to see a doctor when these symptoms are abrupt and unexplained, because it can become life threatening.

The disease can be hereditary, so you may be at higher risk if other family members have had it. Another way to get the disease would be through surgery, this is because tissue debris may enter the blood stream. Other risk factors include; smoking, being overweight, supplemental estrogen and sometimes pregnancy.

About one third of people with undiagnosed and untreated pulmonary embolism don't survive. There are multiple ways too be diagnosed with it including; a chest x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, V/Q lung scan, pulmonary angiogram and an MRI.  

If you are at risk for pulmonary embolism, hospitals will give you anticoagulants before and after your operations. These prevent blood clots in the veins and arteries. You may also receive graduated compression stockings that steadily squeeze your legs to help your veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. Another treatment is pneumatic  compression where they use thigh high cuffs that inflate with air and deflate  every so often to massage the veins in your legs and improve blood flow.

You can develop a pulmonary embolism so matter where you are or what you're doing. Another good way to prevent this would be to take a break from sitting, fidget in your seat, drink plenty of fluids and wear support stockings.

Comment Stream