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You may be at Risk for Pulmonary Embolism It's serious - Don't Wait.

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If you feel any of those symptoms, you may be dealing with Pulmonary Embolism – a clot in the arteries that supply vital oxygen to your lungs. A Pulmonary Embolism can be dangerous, but there are treatments available from the DMC Clot Buster team. The Clot Busters at DMC use advanced technology to deliver medication to break up pulmonary embolisms/lung clots, and safely remove them. the DMC Clot Buster team is dedicated to reducing the incidence of lung clots and improving outcomes for patients dealing with lung clots.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism?
Pulmonary Embolism (PE) is a blockage in one or more lung arteries, caused by blood clots traveling to lung arteries from another part of the body -- most commonly, the legs. It is sometimes referred to as a “lung clot,” although that is not accurate, since the clot is in the artery that delivers blood to the lung, and not the lung itself. When the clot is in your legs or other parts of the body, the clot is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).


Blood clots like the ones seen in Pulmonary Embolism are the third most common cardiovascular illness. Up to 250,000+ patients are hospitalized each year with a form of DVT, and for up to 200,000 of those diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, the blood clot proves to be fatal.

What are the warning signs of Pulmonary Embolism?

Pain/tenderness/swelling in upper and lower extremities, also increased warmth, swelling, and skin redness are signs of the Deep Vein Thrombosis that can lead to Pulmonary Embolism.

Once the clot has moved to the lung’s artery, signs may include:

About one-third of patients with undiagnosed and untreated Pulmonary Embolism do not survive. Most Pulmonary Embolisms are discovered in an emergency room setting. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, DO NOT WAIT – SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.

Our PAD/PVD success storiesRacing To Save a Life   l   With Her Life in Danger, Every Second Counted   l   Close to Death, Lung Clot Patient Survived After High-Tech “Catheterization” at DMC

Who is at risk?

The following factors can increase the risk of having a pulmonary embolism.

  • A history of heart disease. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease make clot formation more likely.

  • A history of cancer. Certain cancers, and certain cancer treatments, can increase the level of substances that help the blood clot.

  • Prolonged immobility, such as lengthy bed rest, or frequent, long journeys (car or plane trips spent in a cramped, seated position.)

  • Surgery, especially joint replacement.

  •  Smoking.

  • Being overweight.

  • Taking supplementary estrogen, such as birth control pills and/or hormone replacement therapy.

  • Pregnancy – the weight of the baby pressing on veins and the pelvis can slow the return of blood from the legs.

How is a Pulmonary Embolism treated?

Depending upon the risk level, Pulmonary Embolism may be treated with Medical/Mechanical Management, or Surgical Intervention.

Medical/Mechanical Management

For patients at a lower risk, treatments may include anticoagulation (anti-clotting) medication (Heparin, Warfarin, etc.) and/or mechanical therapy, such as compression stockings.

Surgical Intervention

For patients with increased risk, treatment may include the medical/mechanical therapies above, as well as:

  • Ultrasound-Assisted Thrombolysis – This minimally invasive delivery of “clot-busting” therapy directly to the clot, is the “treatment of choice,” thanks to the reduced trauma to the patient, reduced risk of infection, and shorter recovery period.

  • Pulmonary Embolectomy – Surgical clot removal; now a rare, “last resort” procedure.

Who should I talk about my risk of Pulmonary Embolism?

Your Personal Doctor – your primary care physician will be able to help you understand your risk, and help you decide what to do next.

An Endovascular Interventionalist – this is a physician who specializes in the treatment of vein and artery disease, using the least-invasive techniques whenever possible. It may be an Interventional Cardiologist, or a Vascular Surgeon.

Your doctor can recommend a specialist, or you can find a DMC Heart Hospital Interventionalist by calling 888-DMC-2500, or using our online physician locator, using keywords: Interventional Cardiology, Endovascular Surgery, or Endovascular Neurointervention.

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