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Pulmonary embolus

  • Alternative Names

    Venous thromboembolism; Lung blood clot; Blood clot - lung; Embolus; Tumor embolus; Embolism - pulmonary


    Prevention

    Preventing deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is very important, especially in people at high risk. To help prevent DVT, move your legs often or take a stroll during long plane trips, car trips, and other situations in which you are sitting or lying down for long periods of time. Walking and staying active as soon as possible after surgery or during a long-term medical illness can also reduce your risk.

    Heparin therapy (low doses of heparin injected under the skin) may be prescribed for those on prolonged bedrest.

    Sometimes patients in the hospital wear special soft boots that automatically (and gently) squeeze the calves periodically. This is called intermittent pneumatic compression. It helps keep blood moving and prevents blood clotting.


    References

    Anderson DR, Kahn SR, Rodger MA, et al. Computed tomographic pulmonary angiography vs ventilation-perfusion lung scanning in patients with suspected pulmonary embolism: a randomized controlled trial.JAMA. 2007;298(23):2743-2753.

    Righini M, Le Gal G, Aujesky D, et al. Diagnosis of pulmonary embolism by multidetector CT alone or combined with venous ultrasonography of the leg: a randomised non-inferiority trial. Lancet. 2008;371(9621):1343-1352.

    Snow V, Qaseem A, Barry P, et al. Management of venous thromboembolism: a clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(3):204-210.

    Tapson VF. Pulmonary embolism. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 99.