When a blood clot breaks loose from a vein and travels through the bloodstream to a major artery in the lungs, it is called a pulmonary embolus. Although many of these clots are small and not life threatening, they can still damage the lungs. Large clots can be fatal when they severely compromise the lungs’ function to deliver oxygen to the blood. Alternatively a pulmonary embolus may be fatal when it presents an acute onset of high blood pressure in the lungs and consequently strains the right ventricle of the heart. This acute strain can cause severe weakening and frank failure of the heart, which can be fatal.
Pulmonary embolism may cause sudden onset of alarming symptoms such as sharp chest pain and shortness of breath. Other more generalized signs may also occur, such as feelings of anxiety, faintness, profuse sweating, dizziness, or heart palpitations. These are easily confused with other medical conditions including heart attack, stroke, or pneumonia, and will require a skilled physician’s diagnosis.
The chances of a having pulmonary embolism increase with age. Other risk factors include pregnancy and childbirth, recent surgery, heart failure, smoking, and taking birth control pills or hormone replacements.
Historically, pulmonary embolism was only treated with aggressive use of intravenous blood thinners. There are new, minimally invasive catheter based procedures which can directly treat (dissolve) the clot in the lungs. http://www.ekoscorp.com/international_enter.htm#Pulmonary_Embolism
Your SPCVA physicians will provide superior care coupled with up to date technology and procedures to diagnose and treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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