Pulmonary Embolism

How to crowdsource the world for emergency medicine

Two new studies, published online Tuesday in Annals of Emergency Medicine, illustrate the power of social media and the Internet to promote scholarly dialogue around the world and the importance of establishing criteria for wh ...

Apr 02, 2015
popularity 7 comments 0

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage of the main artery of the lung or one of its branches by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body through the bloodstream (embolism). Usually this is due to embolism of a thrombus (blood clot) from the deep veins in the legs, a process termed venous thromboembolism. A small proportion is due to the embolization of air, fat, talc in drugs of intravenous drug abusers or amniotic fluid. The obstruction of the blood flow through the lungs and the resultant pressure on the right ventricle of the heart leads to the symptoms and signs of PE. The risk of PE is increased in various situations, such as cancer or prolonged bed rest.

Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include difficulty breathing, chest pain on inspiration, and palpitations. Clinical signs include low blood oxygen saturation and cyanosis, rapid breathing, and a rapid heart rate. Severe cases of PE can lead to collapse, abnormally low blood pressure, and sudden death.

Diagnosis is based on these clinical findings in combination with laboratory tests (such as the D-dimer test) and imaging studies, usually CT pulmonary angiography. Treatment is typically with anticoagulant medication, including heparin and warfarin. Severe cases may require thrombolysis with drugs such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) or may require surgical intervention via pulmonary thrombectomy.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Finding points to a cause of chronic lung disease

Scientists have long suspected that respiratory viruses—the sort that cause common colds or bronchitis—play a critical role in the long-term development of chronic lung diseases such as asthma and chronic ...

Technique could speed biologic drugs

Antibodies are specific molecules that can lock onto a particular cellular structure to start, stop or otherwise temper a biological process. Because they are so specific, antibodies are at the forefront ...

Babies feel pain 'like adults'

The brains of babies 'light up' in a very similar way to adults when exposed to the same painful stimulus, a pioneering Oxford University brain scanning study has discovered. It suggests that babies experience ...

Cancer drug shows promise as cure for hepatitis B

Australian scientists have found a potential cure for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections, with a promising new treatment proving 100 per cent successful in eliminating the infection in preclinical models.