Pulmonary Embolism

The clots can break free, travel to the lung, and block an artery. The condition can uncommonly be caused from fat escaping from fractured bone marrow or from amniotic fluid during childbirth. With a large clot, or many number of clots, pulmonary embolism can cause death.
The process by which a pulmonary embolism forms, begins in the blood stream. Blood flows from the right side of the heart to the lungs where it picks up oxygen. The heart pumps this oxygen-rich blood through arteries delivering it to various parts of the body after which it enters another network of veins. The veins carry the now oxygen-poor blood back to the heart, which pumps the blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen again. A blood clot forming in a vein, commonly a deep vein in the leg, can travel with the blood flow back to the lungs and become lodge there.This leads to pulmonary embolism.
When the lung arteries become blocked by a blood clot, high blood pressure in the lungs may occur. This results in the heart having to pump harder than usual. A continually overworked heart may enlarge and may eventually fail to function. A large pulmonary embolism can result in failure of both the lungs and heart. However, the sooner a physician can diagnose and treat the condition, increases the chances of surviving a pulmonary embolism.
The symptoms of pulmonary embolism differ widel…
The symptoms of pulmonary embolism differ widely and often resemble those of other conditions. the classic signs include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain and a cough that produces blood-streaked sputum. Breathing may be very rapid and breathing deeply may cause severe chest pains. Other symptoms include increased pulse rate, dizziness, and fainting. Pulmonary infarction may result if there is a lack of blood flow to the lungs causing some lung tissue to die. In addition the patient may also cough up blood-stained phlegm, have sharp chest pains, and fever. The skin may turn a bluish color from a lack of oxygen when the larger vessels of the lungs are blocked. Chronic pulmonary embolism, where small blood clots deposit themselves in the lungs repeatedly over time, will cause shortness of breath, swelling of the leg and all round weakness (MayoClinic 2006).
Risk factors for a pulmonary embolus include:
Prolonged bed rest or inactivity (including long trips in planes, cars, or trains), Oral contraceptive use, Surgery (especially pelvic surgery), Childbirth, Massive trauma, Burns, Cancer, Stroke, Heart attack, Heart surgery, Fractures of the hips or femur
A blood clot is the first factor towards pulmonary embolism and one that forms in a vein is called a thrombus. A blood clot is a plug of platelets enmeshed in a group of red blood cells and fibrin. Blood clots usually develop to help stop bleeding an injury, but sometimes form without reason. A clot that develops in one part of the body and travels in the bloodstream to another part of the body is called an embolus. Sometimes other substances, such as pieces of a tumor, globules of fat from fractured bones or air bubbles, may enter the bloodstream and become an embolus that blocks arteries.
A vein in the leg or