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What're the symptoms of pulmonary embolism?

The signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism can vary greatly, depending on how much of the lung is involved, the size of the clot and your overall health - especially the presence or absence of underlying lung or heart disease.

Small emboli may not cause any symptoms, but most emboli cause shortness of breath, which comes on very quickly. Shortness of breath may be the only symptom, especially if pulmonary infarction does not develop. Often, the breathing is very rapid, and the person may feel anxious or restless and appear to have an anxiety attack. Larger emboli commonly cause sharp pain in the chest, especially when the person inhales; the pain is called pleuritic chest pain.

Other symptoms include increased pulse rate, dizziness, and fainting. If the lack of blood flow to the lungs has caused some lung tissue to die, called pulmonary infarction, the patient may also cough up blood-stained phlegm, have sharp chest pains, and fever. When the larger vessels of the lungs are blocked, the lack of oxygen gives the skin a bluish color. Patients with chronic pulmonary embolism, where small blood clots travel to the lungs repeatedly over a period of years, will have symptoms that build up gradually, including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and general weakness.


More information on pulmonary embolism

What is pulmonary embolism? - Pulmonary embolism is an obstruction of a blood vessel in the lungs, usually due to a blood clot, which blocks a coronary artery.
What causes pulmonary embolism? - The most common cause of pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein in your leg, breaks loose, travels to the lungs.
What're the risk factors for pulmonary embolism? - Risk factors for pulmonary embolism include: prolonged bed rest, surgery, childbirth, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure.
What are the symptoms of pulmonary embolism? - The signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism can vary greatly, depending on how much of the lung is involved.
How is pulmonary embolism diagnosed? - Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism depends upon an accurate and thorough medical history and ruling out other conditions.
What's the treatment for pulmonary embolism? - Treatment of pulmonary embolism focuses on preventing future pulmonary embolism by using anticoagulant medications.
How to prevent pulmonary embolism? - Pulmonary embolism risk can be reduced in certain patients through judicious use of antithrombotic drugs.
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