What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage in a lung artery. The blockage usually is caused by a blood clot that travels to the lung from a vein in the leg, also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). 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.
PE is a serious condition that can:
- Damage part of your lung because of a lack of blood flow to your lung tissue. This damage may lead to pulmonary hypertension (increased pressure in the pulmonary arteries).
- Cause low oxygen levels in your blood.
- Damage other organs in your body because of a lack of oxygen.
Signs and Symptoms
Prompt medical treatment of a PE greatly reduces the risk of death. Any patient that experiences unexplained chest symptoms should be tested for a potential PE. If you experience a sign or symptom, regardless of if you have any risk factors, contact your healthcare professional immediately. Read more about the signs and symptoms of a PE by clicking the link below.