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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism is when a blood vessel in the lung becomes blocked by a clot that has originated in another area of the body.
What are the symptoms of pulmonary embolism?
The symptoms of pulmonary embolism vary widely, but can include: shortness of breath; chest pain; coughing up blood; fast heart rate, and; low blood pressure.
What causes pulmonary embolism?
Most cases of pulmonary embolism are caused by deep vein thrombosis, in which a blood clot in the leg has dislodged and travelled through the bloodstream to block a vessel in the lung. Other less common causes include an air bubble in a vein, bone and fat …
Who can develop pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism is more common in people who have been bed-ridden with illness or surgery, in smokers, those with chronic heart conditions or high blood pressure.
Can pulmonary embolism be prevented?
Because the most common cause of pulmonary embolism is deep vein thrombosis, prevention involves reducing the likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis. This may include: not smoking; exercising regularly; avoiding lengthy periods of inactivity if …
What is the outlook for pulmonary embolism?
If treated early, the majority of people with pulmonary embolism will make a full recovery. If left untreated, there is a significant risk of death.
Is pulmonary embolism serious?
If pulmonary embolism is treated quickly, most people will make a full recovery. But when there is a large embolus, it may be life-threatening.
How common is pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism is estimated to affect 25-50 people in every 100,000.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 13 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 1297 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Pulmonary embolism