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Pulmonary Embolism

Also called: Blood clots in the lung

Summary

A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in a lung artery. The cause is usually a blood clot in the leg called a deep vein thrombosis that breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lung. Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that can cause

  • Permanent damage to the affected lung
  • Low oxygen levels in your blood
  • Damage to other organs in your body from not getting enough oxygen

If a clot is large, or if there are many clots, pulmonary embolism can cause death.

Half the people who have pulmonary embolism have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they can include shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing up blood. Symptoms of a blood clot include warmth, swelling, pain, tenderness and redness of the leg. The goal of treatment is to break up clots and help keep other clots from forming.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Treatments and Therapies

Living With

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American Heart Association)

Related Issues

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in
  • (American Heart Association) - PDF
  • (American Heart Association) - PDF
  • (American Heart Association) - PDF

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Statistics and Research

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Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

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