Pulmonary Embolus

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A pulmonary embolus is a blockage of an artery in the lungs by a blood clot. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the dangers of pulmonary emboli in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

A pulmonary embolus occurs when a blood clot in the vein breaks free and travels to the lungs. When this happens, the flow of blood to the lungs and to the heart can slow or stop. This pulmonary embolus can be fatal if not treated emergently.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolus include the sudden onset of shortness of breath, sharp chest pain, rapid heart rate, a feeling of severe apprehension and sometimes a bloody cough.

A pulmonary embolus is a medical emergency. You should seek treatment immediately. Diagnostic testing for pulmonary emboli includes the measurement of the oxygen levels in the blood and radiology studies to look for blood clots. These include ventilation-perfusion scans, CT scans of the chest, or injection of dye into the pulmonary blood vessels to look for clots.

Treatment for a pulmonary embolus includes oxygen support, blood thinners to prevent further clots and at times, strong clot busting drugs to break up the clot.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.