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Pulmonary Embolism

Erlanger Respiratory, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine
979 East 3rd St.
Suite C-735
Chattanooga, TN 37403
423-778-9101

What is Pulmonary Embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of an artery in the lungs.  Usually this blockage is a clot. These clots are small but can be deadly. 

What are the Symptoms of Pulmonary Embolism?

  • Shortness of breath, usually a sudden onset
  • Chest pain that worsens with coughing and taking deep breaths
  • Coughing that produces pink, frothy mucus
  • Increased heart rate and /or heart palpitations
  • Low oxygen supply in the body
  • Lightheadedness 

Sudden onset of these symptoms can be life threatening. Seek medical attention immediately.

How is Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosed?

It can be difficult to diagnose a Pulmonary Embolism because other medical conditions such as heart attacks or even anxiety can present with the same symptoms.

  • Accurate medical history can help rule out some conditions
  • Physical exam by a Physician
  • Imaging to include chest x-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, VQ scan, or MRI
  • EKG
  • Arterial Blood Gas

How is Pulmonary EmobolismTreated?

  • Anticoagulants to thin blood and break up clots
  • Thrombolytics to dissolve clots
  • Surgical clot removal
  • Preventative measures include wearing compressions socks and increasing physical activity

What Resources Does Erlanger Offer for Pulmonary Embolism?