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Pulmonary Embolism Treatment

About Pulmonary Embolism

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 900,000 patients are affected by DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and PE (Pulmonary Embolism) each year in the United States. DVT’s are often the precursors of Pulmonary Embolisms. Estimates suggest 60,000 – 100,000 Americans die of DVT/PE each year and importantly 10 – 30% of people die within one month of diagnosis. Early detection and appropriate treatment are vital to survival.

Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. This is most often caused by a blood clot that travels to the lungs from the legs. Pulmonary embolism almost always occurs in tandem with deep vein thrombosis. Doctors refer to both conditions happening together as venous thromboembolism.

These blood clots or blockages can be caused by several things. Inactivity is a major cause, whether you are not very mobile or you are immobile for an extended period of time such as after a serious injury or surgery, or while traveling on a long journey. Damaged blood vessels, easily clotting blood, older age, being overweight or pregnant, being a smoker or taking oral contraceptives can also all cause blood clots.

Pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening. If it is treated quickly the risk of death drops quickly.

Massive Pulmonary Embolism is often linked with sustained hypotension, or low blood pressure, eventually leading into cardiac arrest.

Submassive Pulmonary Embolism is a pulmonary embolism without low blood pressure, but with either right ventricular dysfunction or myocardial necrosis, which is the failure of muscle in the heart.

Pulmonary embolism and blood clots may be able to be avoided. Someone may wear compression stockings to encourage faster blood flow, increase their mobility to avoid being stationary for too long, quit smoking and eat a low fat, healthy diet to increase their chances of avoiding blood clots.