Pulmonary Embolism :
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. A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the pulmonary artery, the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs.
Causes of PULMONARY EMBOLISM:
Blood clots can form for a variety of reasons. Pulmonary embolisms are most often caused by Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots form in veins deep in the body. The blood clots that most often cause pulmonary embolisms typically begin in the legs or arms.
Signs and Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism:
Pulmonary embolism symptoms can vary greatly, depending on how much of your lung is involved, the size of the clots and your overall health — especially the presence or absence of underlying lung disease or heart disease.
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Other Signs and Symptoms Include:
- Excessive sweating
- Clammy or discolored skin
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Leg pain or swelling, or both, usually in the calf
Risk Factors Include:
Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening, but prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death. Taking measures to prevent blood clots in your legs will help protect you against pulmonary embolism.
- Cancer, Obesity
- Major surgery
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Fractures of the leg or hip
- A family history of embolisms
- A history of heart attack or stroke
Diagnosis of Pulmonary Embolism:
Diagnosing pulmonary embolism is difficult, because there are many other medical conditions, depends on an accurate and thorough medical history and ruling out other conditions. Your doctor will need to know about your symptoms and risk factors for pulmonary embolism. This information, combined with a careful physical exam, will point to the initial tests that are best suited to diagnose a deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
Tests that are often done if you have shortness of breath or chest pain include:
- A chest X-ray, Arterial blood gas analysis, Electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG)
Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism:
Patients with pulmonary embolism are treated with clot-dissolving and clot-preventing drugs. Oxygen therapy is often needed to maintain normal oxygen concentrations. For people who can’t take anticoagulants and in some other cases, surgery may be needed to insert a device that filters blood returning to the heart and lungs. The goal of treatment is to maintain the patient’s cardiovascular and respiratory functions while the blockage resolves, which takes 10-14 days, and to prevent the formation of other emboli.
Thrombolytic therapy to dissolve blood clots is the aggressive treatment for very severe pulmonary embolism. Streptokinase, urokinase, and recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) are thrombolytic agents. Heparin is the injectable anticoagulant (clotpreventing) drug of choice for preventing formation of blood clots. Warfarin, an oral anticoagulant, is usually continued when the patient leaves the hospital and doesn’t need heparin any longer.
Prevention of Pulmonary Embolism:
People having major surgery should be assessed for their DVT risk, and people at high risk of DVT may need preventative (prophylactic) doses of heparin or a similar medicine before and after surgery. Other preventative measures are also possible while in hospital. Pulmonary embolism risk can be reduced in certain patients through judicious use of anti-thrombotic drugs such as heparin, venous interruption, gradient elastic stockings and/or intermittent pneumatic compression of the legs.
Pulmonary Embolism can be life-threatening. It’s important to get immediate medical treatment for it. Seek counsel from our Houston Cardiologist if you suspect you are suffering from Pulmonary Embolism for the best treatment options for you. Call on +1 281-866-7701. Advanced Cardiovascular Care Center…!