Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia

Timely and considerate care of the arterial and venous systems.

Pulmonary Embolism

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot forming in one of the veins in the body, more commonly a deep vein in the leg or pelvis (known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT), which then breaks off (this is called an embolus) and travels through the blood stream towards the heart and then ends up in the lung.  You could read more about DVT in our post, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

A pulmonary embolism is an emergency because depending on the size, number and location it could be fatal.


Some of the symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath (most common).
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Coughing.
  • Spitting out blood.
  • Lightheaded or fainting.
  • Rapid heart beat.

Risk Factors

Since PE is most likely to be caused by a DVT, then risk factors for DVT can increase the risk for a PE.  Some of these factors include:

  • Surgery or trauma.
  • Prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Bone fractures such as in the leg or hip.
  • Cancer.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • Blood clotting abnormalities.
  • Birth control pills or pregnancy.
  • Family history of PE.

Note: This blog post is intended for information only.  It is not meant to replace a professional medical opinion.  If you are suspecting any medical problems, please seek professional medical attention.  If you are having an emergency, please call 911.

Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.
Vascular Laboratory

Our Vascular Surgeons:
Robert S. Podolsky, M.D.
Avisesh Sahgal, M.D.

One comment on “Pulmonary Embolism

  1. Pingback: Pulmonary Embolus Removal | Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.

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This entry was posted on June 2, 2015 by in Vascular Information and tagged , , .
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