Pulmonary embolism can cause death – Its symptoms and treatment


Yes, this statement can be 100% true if pulmonary embolism symptoms are not diagnosed and treated at right time.

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage in the artery by a blood clot in the lungs that has been moved from somewhere else to the artery of lungs. It affects blood flow which results in low oxygen level in blood, which damages other body organs.

As pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening and can lead to the death of 1-2 persons out of 1000 if remains untreated or undiagnosed. Thus people should be aware of symptoms of pulmonary embolism as getting medical help urgently can save one’s life and prevent extra suffering.

The pulmonary embolism symptoms are:

  1. A sudden cough or blood in a cough.
  2. Chest Pain.
  3. A sudden shortness of breath resulting in rapid breathing.
  4. Discoloration of skin due to lower oxygen level in blood.
  5. Excessive sweating.
  6. Raised body temperature.
  7. Increased or irregular heartbeat.
  8. Dizziness or fainting.
  9. Anxiety
  10. Weak pulse.

If you have symptoms of pulmonary embolism like these, you need to see a doctor immediately, especially if they are sudden and severe.

What causes or increases the risk of pulmonary embolism?

Most of the times pulmonary embolism is caused by Deep vein thrombosis in the leg. The clot in legs travels up to lungs. In the United States, more than 300,000 people have deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism each year.

Some causes of Pulmonary Embolism are:

  1. Cancer or undergoing cancer treatment (chemotherapy)
  2. Recent Surgery or hospitalization that results in long-term bed rest which results in a collection of blood in the lower extremity which increases the chances of blood clot formation.
  3. Injuries like bone fractures or muscle damage can damage blood vessels, which leads to clot formation (thrombus)
  4. The respiratory disease of any kind
  5. Long distance travels results in immobility that causes the decrease of blood flow throughout our circulatory system, resulting in pooling up of blood in lower extremities, that leads to the formation of blood clots.
  6. Pregnancy and childbirth (especially if you had a cesarean section).Especially in the first few weeks of delivery can cause pulmonary embolism.
  7. Age (above 50-60 years)
  8. Use of birth control pills or any hormonal therapy pills.
  9. Obesity can too cause pulmonary embolism.
  10. Any heart disease may cause pulmonary embolism.
  11. Inflammatory disease of any kind can cause pulmonary embolism.
  12. Thrombophilia (a disease in which blood clots abnormally resulting in the formation of blood clots in blood vessels)
  13. Varicose veins (enlarged or twisted veins)
  14. Sedentary lifestyle.
  15. Smoking

Other Pulmonary Embolism symptoms that must be kept in mind include:

  1. The family history of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism.
  2. Personal history of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism.
  3. Surgery, trauma and traveling time frame.

How is Pulmonary Embolism treated?

If you have cancer or history of DVT, or any heart or lungs disease or if you are on bed rest or take long flights, these all conditions can increase the risk of Pulmonary Embolism.

pulmonary embolism symptoms

Pulmonary embolism can be deadly if not treated timely and properly. The doctor first diagnoses pulmonary embolism using different methods including chest X-ray, Electrocardiography (ECG), CT SCAN, Computed tomographic angiography (CTPA), Ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scan, Pulmonary angiography, D-Dimer test, and blood test.

The treatment depends on the size and type of clot. If the clot is minor and diagnosed early, the doctor may prescribe some medicines that can dissolve clots.

  1. Thrombolytics (clot dissolvers/busters): are drugs that are used to dissolve clots for the treatment of Pulmonary Embolism. They speed up break down of clots.
  2. Anti-coagulants: are also called blood thinners; they are the most common form of drugs that are used for the treatment of Pulmonary Embolism. They perform two functions. First; they keep the present clot from getting bigger. Second; they prevent the formation of new clots. Some common anticoagulants are aspirin, heparin, and warfarin.

Anticoagulation is the process that prevents any clots from forming while thrombolysis is the process that breaks down clots after they’ve been formed.

  1. Catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT): It is an emergency treatment that doctor may use for dissolving blood clot (embolus). The doctor will insert a thin tube in the thigh or arm of the patient and continue to the lung, where medicine is released through the catheter to dissolve the clot. As medication is released through the catheter so its highest concentration is directly reached to clot making it more effective to dissolve.
  2. Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter: IVC filter is implanted to prevent new or existing clot in deep vein thrombosis to move to the pulmonary artery and combining with an existing blockage.

The doctor makes a small cut, then uses a thin wire to put in a small filter in patients inferior vena cava. (The vena cava is the main vein that leads from your legs to the right side of your heart).  The filter prevents blood clots from traveling from legs to lungs.

This method is used when a person is not advised to take anticoagulants directly due to any specific medical condition.

  1. Surgery: Chronic pulmonary embolism which may lead to pulmonary hypertension is treated by surgery known as PULMONARY THROMBOENDARTERECTOMY.

In this surgery, the blood clot is removed from the pulmonary artery.

  1. Compression stockings along with Medshoola Compression Pump: Medshoola products are ideal for saving the lives of people at risk of developing blood clots.

pulmonary embolism symptoms

Designed and backed by doctors and surgeons who realized the need for a portable, practical, and proven alternative that actually fits into everyday life, the Medshoola products bring over-the-counter prevention and treatment for people who are most at risk of pulmonary embolism (PE).

The Medshoola™ compression pump is a sequential compression device that can be used alone or paired with compression stockings for optimal results. It’s easy to use and customizable

It is designed by physicians who routinely take care of patients with problems such as DVT or PE. The Medshoola sequential compression device (SCD) is the only compact, portable SCD on the market. It can dramatically decrease your risk of death from PE.

An embolism is a result of the medical condition known as thrombosis.

Thrombosis (from Ancient Greek θρόμβωσις thrómbōsis “clotting”) is the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) inside a blood vessel, blocking the flow of blood through the circulatory system.

A thrombus is a blood clot formed in our vascular system, while an embolus is moving blood clot in our blood vessels. A moving blood clot (thrombus) is called thromboembolism.

Pulmonary embolism is directly linked to blood clot formed in the leg.

A pulmonary embolism (PE) usually occurs when a blood clot formed in deep veins of the leg (Deep vein thrombosis), travels to your lungs and blocks a blood vessel. So if a patient is diagnosed with blood clot in the leg (DVT), he must keep in mind if it remains untreated it could cause pulmonary embolism that may even lead to death.