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Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary Embolism: What is it? Can it be Prevented?

Pulmonary Embolism: What is it? Can it be Prevented?

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a condition that occurs when a blood clot blocks one or more of the arteries in the lungs. This can cause serious problems, including chest pain, shortness of breath, and even death.

Early diagnosis and timely treatment are critical for the best possible health outcome.

Signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism

Signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism

If a patient experiences shortness of breath, chest pain, or coughing up blood, they may be experiencing pulmonary embolism symptoms. These symptoms, in particular, could be life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention.

Other symptoms may include:

Pulmonary embolism is often caused due to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in the legs. Therefore, patients may experience DVT symptoms such as:

Pulmonary embolism types

Pulmonary embolism types

The classification of pulmonary embolism is based on how long the patient has been experiencing the symptoms.

Listed below are the three pulmonary embolism types:

  1. Acute: This type of pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot blocks one or more arteries in the lungs. This can cause severe shortness of breath and chest pain. It can be fatal if not treated quickly.
  2. Subacute: Pulmonary embolism that develops over 2-12 weeks is called subacute PE. It is characterised by a high mortality rate and symptoms such as shortness of breath. Subacute PE usually requires aggressive treatment options to break up the blood clot.
  3. Chronic: This type of PE is caused by residual blood clots in the arteries of the lungs despite treatment. However, a very small percentage of patients experience chronic PE. It may require surgical treatments such as pulmonary angioplasty to remove scar tissue and blood clots completely.

Pulmonary embolism causes

Pulmonary embolism causes

Besides DVT, there are other probable pulmonary embolism causes, including:

Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism

Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism diagnosis can be determined through a variety of tests, including a CT (computed tomography) scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Apart from that, our doctors conduct a thorough physical exam and evaluate the patient’s medical history and blood work to diagnose pulmonary embolism.

Chest X-rays can reveal the anatomic location, shape, contour, and size of the lungs, heart, and pulmonary arteries that may reveal clotting.

Other pulmonary embolism diagnosis methods include:

  1. Ventilation-perfusion scan (V/Q scan): The test is performed by injecting a radioactive substance into the vein and measuring its uptake in the lungs. A VQ scan is used to assess blood flow and air exchange in the lungs.
  2. Pulmonary angiogram: It is a diagnostic procedure used to visualise the blood vessels in the lungs. The test is performed by injecting a contrast dye into the pulmonary artery and then taking X-rays of the lungs.
  3. Duplex ultrasound: It is a painless, noninvasive exam that uses sound waves to visualise blood flow in the arteries and veins of the legs. This test can be used to diagnose problems with the blood vessels, such as blockages or clots (that often travel into the lung).

Pulmonary embolism treatment

Pulmonary embolism treatment

Treatment typically involves anticoagulant medication to prevent further clotting, as well as measures to remove the clot.

The pulmonary embolism treatment options include:

Prevention of pulmonary embolism

Prevention of pulmonary embolism

Life expectancy after pulmonary embolism diagnosis depends on various factors, such as the patient’s overall health, age, and type of embolism.

Most people do make a full recovery from PE, given that they see a doctor immediately upon noticing the signs and symptoms and follow their treatment plan.

But is it possible to prevent PE in the first place?

As it turns out, it is:

Conclusion

Conclusion

Sometimes diseases when left undetected and untreated can start dictating our lives. Maintaining good health requires timely attention to any growing symptoms. Your body is always giving signs, it is your prerogative to read them or at least reach out to someone who can help us resolve it.

If you or someone you know has a pulmonary embolism, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. You can do so by either visiting the CK Birla Hospital or fixing an appointment with Dr. Kuldeep Grover. Using our state-of-the-art medical facilities, our experienced staff will provide accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan that is specific to your condition.

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