Pulmonary embolism almost always occurs as a complication after deep vein thrombosis. The blood clot, which is separated from the deep vein wall, enters the bloodstream and circulates through the heart and, through the pulmonary vein, travels to the lungs. If this split bundle (emboli) is large enough, it can be located in the artery inside the lungs and partialy close the oxygen supply and thus lowering the volume of freshly oxygenated blood returning to the left side of the heart. Any such emboli in the lungs can be dangerous.
The symptoms depend on the size and place of the embolus in the lungs. Since the heart and body tissues are partially without blood supply, heavy breathing is always present. The patient may become unconscious, and chest pains may also occur. Coughing with blood sputum and cyanosis may also occur. Severe pulmonary embolism can cause collapse and instant death.
Pulmonary embolism is not frequent, but its consequences are numerous. The proportion of affected women and men is 3:2. People who are recovering in bed after a surgery are especially exposed to danger. Severe pulmonary embolism (when at least half the blood flow to the lungs is stopped) occurs frequently and can end with death. Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism cause approximately 5% of deaths – usually as a complication of some other serious illness, such as cancer.
Any stopping of blood flow to the lungs can lead to decompensation of the right heart. Small pulmonary embolism increases susceptibility to infection in the chest, and severe embolism can cause death.
What to do?
The tendency towards deep vein thrombosis increases the likelihood of pulmonary embolism. Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of any of these two disorders, especially if you need to lie down. Your doctor will look at your lungs and heart with a stethoscope and if he suspects that you have pulmonary embolism, he will refer you to the X-ray and electrocardiography (EKG) to determine if your heart, especially the right side, is burdened. A special, fibrinogen uptake test, may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
If the doctor thinks someone has collapsed because of heavy pulmonary embolism, his first task will be to heal the patient by emergency intervention. However, the collapse of pulmonary embolism resembles a collapse of coronary thrombosis, sothe doctor will also carry out other tests to determine the cause.
Self-help: take self-help measures written in deep vein thrombosis article to cure the pulmonary embolism which is usually the consequence of deep vein thrombosis. If you experience embolism, you must seek medical help.
Professional help: you will have to go to the hospital. It is advisable to give the patient a thrombolytic injection. However, anticoagulants tablets are more commonly used.
If it is a heavy embolism, emergency therapeutic measures should be taken. It will probably include heart massage and oxygen delivery over the mask on the face or through the tube. After that, the blockage is eliminated surgical under general anesthesia.
Of the three cases of severe pulmonary embolism, one ends in death. However, a person who survives the first few critical days has a good chance of being completely healed. Prospects are even better if the source of embolism is discovered and measures are taken to prevent new illness. Less severe embolism can damage the part of the lung, but the patient will almost always recover if the creation of new embolism is prevented.