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
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.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
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|Date last updated: 07 July 2008
Topic last reviewed: 31 May 2008