URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pulmonaryembolism.html

Pulmonary Embolism

Also called: Blood clots in the lung 

Summary

A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in a lung artery. The cause is usually a blood clot in the leg called a deep vein thrombosis that breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lung. Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that can cause

  • Permanent damage to the affected lung
  • Low oxygen levels in your blood
  • Damage to other organs in your body from not getting enough oxygen

If a clot is large, or if there are many clots, pulmonary embolism can cause death.

Half the people who have pulmonary embolism have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they can include shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing up blood. Symptoms of a blood clot include warmth, swelling, pain, tenderness and redness of the leg. The goal of treatment is to break up clots and help keep other clots from forming.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

Diagnosis/Symptoms

Prevention/Screening

Treatments and Therapies

Living With

Related Issues

Videos

Statistics and Research

Clinical Trials

Reference Desk

Find an Expert

Patient Handouts