Pulmonary Embolism

Carondelet Medical Group provides diagnosis and treatment for pulmonary embolism. This is a life-threatening condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible. Feel confident you are in capable hands with our specialists in your corner.

Understanding Pulmonary Embolism

Your pulmonary arteries transport blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs, where the blood becomes enriched with oxygen. From there, the oxygen-rich blood returns to the heart to be pumped out to the rest of the body. Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot forms in this artery, or when a blood clot that forms in another part of the body breaks off and travels to the lungs. A large blood clot or multiple blood clots restrict the flow of blood, which can not only damage the lung but also decreases the level of oxygen that flows through the body. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this can cause permanent heart and lung damage.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism

The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism vastly resemble those of a heart attack and include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Sudden Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Sudden Cough
  • Coughing up Blood
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Anxiety

This is a serious and life-threatening condition. If you experience any of these symptoms you should seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Causes of Pulmonary Embolism

The most common cause of pulmonary embolism it when a blood clot called a deep vein thrombosis, usually located in the leg, travels to your lungs. The formation of blood clots throughout the body may be caused by:

  • Lifestyle choices including poor diet and lack of exercise
  • Immobility due to prolonged travel or post-surgical recovery
  • Heart disease increases the chances of blood clots forming
  • Cancer increases the risk of blood clots
  • Genetic disorders
  • Severe Covid-19 symptoms increase the risk of pulmonary embolism

Blood Clots inside the Heart

Although uncommon, it is possible to experience a blood clot or blood clots inside the heart. Also known as coronary thrombosis, this condition can be life-threatening. The presence of a blood clot inside the heart can lead to a heart attack. Additionally, it is possible for a blood clot in the heart to break off and lead to pulmonary embolism. Symptoms of blood clots inside the heart are similar to other cardiovascular conditions and they include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Heaviness in the Chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of Breath

If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention. If you think you are experiencing a heart attack or other major cardiac event, call 9-1-1.

Treatments for Pulmonary Embolism

Immediate treatment will depend on the size of the blood clot or clots as well as your symptoms. They include:

  • Medication including anticoagulants (blood thinners) and thrombolytics (clot dissolvers)
  • Surgery to remove the clot or install a vein filter.
  • Emergency open surgery may be necessary under certain circumstances.

From here, your doctors will work with you to prevent pulmonary embolism in the future.

Contact Our Office

Stay on top of your cardiovascular health with regular checkups and overall awareness of your health. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a member of our caring staff.