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Pulmonary embolus

  • Alternative Names

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

    • Chest pain
      • Under the breastbone or on one side
      • Especially sharp or stabbing
      • May also be described as a burning, aching, or dull, heavy sensation
      • May get worse with deep breathing, coughing, eating, bending, or stooping
      • You may bend over or hold his or her chest in response to the pain
    • Cough
      • Begins suddenly
      • May cough up blood or blood-streaked sputum
    • Rapid breathing
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Shortness of breath
      • May occur at rest or during activity
      • Starts suddenly

    Other symptoms that may occur:

    • Anxiety
    • Bluish skin discoloration (cyanosis)
    • Clammy skin
    • Dizziness
    • Leg pain in one or both legs
    • Lightheadedness or fainting
    • Low blood pressure
    • Lump associated with a vein near the surface of the body, may be painful
    • Nasal flaring
    • Pelvis pain
    • Sweating
    • Swelling in the legs
    • Weak or absent pulse
    • Wheezing

    Signs and tests

    The following lab tests may be done to see how well your lungs are working:

    • Arterial blood gases
    • Pulse oximetry

    The following imaging tests can help determine where the blood clot is located:

    • Chest x-ray
    • CT angiogram of the chest
    • Pulmonary ventilation/perfusion scan
    • Pulmonary angiogram

    Other tests that may be done include:

    • Chest CT scan
    • Chest MRI scan
    • D-dimer level
    • Doppler ultrasound exam of an extremity
    • ECG
    • Echocardiogram
    • Plethysmography of the legs
    • Venography of the legs